How Did It Happen?

Understanding and Healing Abuse in Buddhist Communities

Response to Bernie from Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche

Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche on Vajrayana Buddhism

21st February, 2018

Dear Bernie,

I am sorry for not responding much sooner to your letter of 23rd August. The main reason is that I’m just so lazy but also pretend to be busy – a pretence that ends up actually making me busy. In fact, I had started to respond to your letter months ago but somehow never got around to finishing this return letter till now.

However, I want to assure you that, because the Buddhadharma and especially the Vajrayana are dear to my heart, I do pay attention as much as time allows to what you and others write. So, from my heart, I want to offer my sincere appreciation for the great effort and thoughtfulness you and many others have been putting into the dialogue of the past seven months.

As you know, I am about to visit a few Rigpa sanghas in Europe. I don’t know how much I can achieve there, but I will try my best to address some of the issues that have been raised in the past seven months. I know people have said and will continue to say that I am trying to “have it both ways”. But more likely I think I will be upsetting both camps!

Anyway, I was determined to finish my response to your 23rd August letter, Bernie, before starting these Rigpa centre talks, in part because I want to quote you in public there. I wanted you to be aware that I intend to do that and hope you don’t mind. But I think this could be useful, as several of the issues you have raised are on many people’s minds.

I would also have liked to respond in writing to other articles, like for example Tahlia Newland’s recent one on whether Vajrayana Buddhism is a cult religion, but just haven’t had the time in recent days to do so. I’ll just say briefly here that I fully agree with her overall conclusion that Vajrayana Buddhism per se and in its essence is not a cult religion but that certain Vajrayana communities have the potential to become cults, as do communities in other religions.

As for the arguments she presented, I’ve been asked by Rigpa in my upcoming talk at Lerab Ling to address exactly the question she asked in her title – namely, is Vajrayana Buddhism a cult religion? So, I do hope to address there some of the issues she raised in her two articles.

Of course, there are many other important issues that other writers have raised in the past seven months. I know I can’t cover even a portion of these, but will certainly try to address some of the key questions in the coming sessions in Europe – without any expectation that my responses will satisfy anyone.

But for now, this letter belatedly focuses on some of the key issues that you, Bernie, raised in your 23rd August letter to me.

  • What you and others express reinforces my main observation that some Rigpa students were not properly prepared and warned about the Vajrayana path and commitments. And that is not your fault, but absolutely Sogyal Rinpoche’s fault. Indeed, of all the things I wrote in my original article last August, this is really the only point based strictly on my own observation from what I personally witnessed.
  • Dzogchen is tantra. In fact, in the Nyingma tradition, dzogchen is the highest yoga tantra. Without the mahasandhi view, all other practices of the tantra in the Nyingma tradition basically collapse. Pointing out your Buddha nature is a big deal – the highest of all teachings, instructions and initiations. And to the person who does that for you, you owe everything.

You wrote: “Vajrayana was not our main path…. I don’t think I entered it formally.” But it is simply not correct to imply some separation between Dzogchen teachings, the Vajrayana, and samaya commitments – as if one can somehow get the former without the latter. AND an integral part of that package deal is proper preparation and warning.

  • Samaya: You asked:

“Given we were introduced so informally, where does that leave us in terms of the traditional samaya?…. Since we did not consciously agree to the strict rules in the tantras, are we now bound by them? Or should our commitment to maintain samaya be based on the essential meaning that Sogyal Rinpoche explained to us?… Considering that the way most of us in Rigpa entered into the Vajrayana was quite informal and unconventional, and thus unclear, would a positive step forward be for both students and teacher to clarify and review their Vajrayana commitments?”

It makes no difference whether Dzogchen teachings are given formally or informally. They could even be given while the teacher and student are peeing – and this happens by the way! Ritual doesn’t matter. But regardless of how those teachings were given, Sogyal Rinpoche had the responsibility to tell his students that these are the highest and most important Vajrayana teachings, to explain the serious preparation and commitments required, and to say these instructions must not be passed on to others. These things absolutely had to be said as part of the required preparation and warnings.

What you write and the way you frame your questions above implies this did not happen properly between Sogyal Rinpoche and you. Even if you and others like you heard Dzogchen talked about – and who in this age of curiosity does not want to know there is a technique for pointing out the nature of mind – still, it seems there was never really a Vajrayana teaching between Sogyal Rinpoche and you. That, in turn, leads me to question if there was ever a samaya between you. And if there was no samaya, then I wonder how you could have broken samaya. It’s clear from what you write that you don’t know this yourself. But that does not exempt Sogyal Rinpoche – because he should know better.

This is not hard to understand. It’s as if you happened to walk into a ceremony in which monks are being ordained, after which, to your total surprise, the abbot tells you that from now on, you can’t have sex. Of course that’s absurd, because you just happened to be there and heard words spoken, but never really knew what was happening. So why should you follow monks’ vows? Unlike you, the monks are supposed to have had proper preparation, to have made a conscious decision about their lives, and to know exactly what they were getting into. You didn’t. As I tried to explain in my earlier posting last August, it was Sogyal Rinpoche’s mistake not to give the proper preparation for Vajrayana teachings, of which the highest is the introduction to the nature of mind.

  • Another question you asked is:

“Sogyal Rinpoche did not have the full formal training that Vajrayana teachers usually go through. This possibility might make a lot of his students very uncomfortable. Are there any qualified masters that could do a peer review with Sogyal Rinpoche and look at how he is working personally with students?”

This is a very big question and is addressed in detail in The Guru Drinks Bourbon?, in which I try to address this issue of proper training.

  • Role of western psychotherapy: Western psychotherapy and other spiritual and psychological paths are all fine so long as their methods crush ego. If they do that, they are valid paths. Any path that does not crush ego is spiritual materialism even if it is coated with all kinds of Buddhist jargon.
  • Compatibility with personal responsibility:

You asked:

“One question I have is whether the practice of samaya and pure perception are compatible with the idea of self-responsibility? And if not, how Vajrayana can exist in this world in any way besides a secret path that selected students are invited to enter consciously with full understanding by a qualified teacher?”

Yes – samaya is not only compatible with personal responsibility but inseparable from it, and this is exactly why proper preparation is so important. Let’s say you examine a path and a teacher closely for some years, and then decide to exercise your responsibility and ask that teacher to lead you: – that is your choice. Even if you think that person is immoral, unethical or criminal, as a spiritual person such a choice would still be the highest sacrifice you can make. And if you really take that responsibility fully, it can be the biggest adventure and the most liberating decision you can make. There are people who have done that!

  • Pure perception of present scandal:

You wrote:

“From a perspective of pure perception, maybe everything is happening as it should? Could it be that Sogyal Rinpoche intended for these people to go through this experience, to feel harmed the way they have, to feel unsupported by the community, to lose trust in him as a teacher, and create a public scandal? That would imply he also intended to sacrifice his reputation and for this public discussion to take place, perhaps so it could reveal the problems and bring positive change.”

That is fantastic, and really gratifying to read! If you could remain in that perception and maintain that kind of motivation, that is a great thing for a Vajrayana student to do. If you have taken Sogyal Rinpoche as your Vajrayana master, then I would highly recommend you keep on doing that and I would give you decorations, honours and awards as a true sentry for the Vajrayana.

But also bear in mind that Sogyal Rinpoche’s manifestation has affected a lot of people’s inspiration and aspiration. It may have permanently damaged the image of the Buddhadharma in general and the Vajrayana in particular in the eyes of some people, and it has certainly caused considerable negative uproar.

So it’s at this time – whatever role you take – whether defensive, offensive, or as interpreter, please do so without ever forgetting the bigger picture. I’m saying this to you personally, but we both know we’re having this exchange because we’re in the midst of a situation where so many good people are responding very emotionally, negatively or defensively. So my plea to remember the “bigger picture”, which includes the survival and health of the Buddhadharma and Vajrayana in the west, is addressed to everyone, on whatever side you are on.

In this regard, I want to repeat what I wrote in my earlier posting: that I am so impressed with most of Sogyal Rinpoche’s students, no matter what their current stance or point of view. Their dedication to the dharma and their assiduous practice gives me hope that the Vajrayana really is taking root in the west!

  • Value of present discussion: And this is one reason I feel confident that the personal contemplation, examination, and interactive discussion now going on among dharma practitioners on these issues has great potential not only to clarify people’s individual practice, path and commitment, but also to strengthen the teaching and practice of Vajrayana Buddhism in the west.

I wish you the very best in your dharma study and practice,

Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse


Editors Note: 


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250 Comments

  1. Francois

    Nice, good to read his opinion, thanks for charing. Obviously he doubts the samaya bond and he blames S for not preparing his students before making important choices. He does not comment on S being a potentially not qualified teacher, nor does he call him qualified. I think tat those are impotant disqualifications.

    Having said that, he doesn’t comment on the allegations of sexual fysical and emotional abuse. So far these allegations have not been disputed, so far S. is in the realm of the criminal offenders……..and the author does not dispute that, but also he does not acknowledge R ‘s wrong doings.

    • bert

      Agree.
      In fact there is still this subtile way of blaming the victims: Oh, there was no wrong doing, maybe YOU were just not prepared enough.
      Still carrying the suggestion the survivors didn’t understand completely… of course, not being well prepared…

      • ps

        I disagree. I cannot see any victim blaming here whatsoever. Can you please be more specific?

  2. Dedicateddharmagirl

    This is a gratifying reply. To know that he’s heard the concerns.
    Regarding unwittingly taking teachings that led to Samaya with SR, I want to explain one situation. At Clear Lake in California one year, SR gave a Tendrel Nyesel empowerment from wherever in the world he was via a large-screen tv. At the end of it he said, bemusedly, almost challengingly, “you know in a way, this makes you a slave.”
    I laughed a little, as did others. I think he was quite serious. But it shows how unprepared people were to take those commitments. We didn’t even know what the deepest meaning was—the absolute dedication that is in effect, a bondage like slavery.
    Sure, that’s a wonderful thing if you’re prepared. But to offer it to 200-300 people? Not wise. He was always pushing past what was safe.

    • Solenodon

      Though a lot of high lamas in Asia give vajrayana empowerments to random crowds. The Dalai Lama gives Kalachakra empowerment to huge crowds of random people who wish to attend. Seems to be a Tibetan thing to do because I have never read that this was custom in India.

      • JR

        Lay people attend empowerments in the Tibetan tradition all the time, to receive the blessing. It might be condescending to some, but lay people are considered intellectually incapable of understanding the pith details. They don’t receive the complete cycle of empowerment, oral transmission and details to practice (Wang Lung, Thig), therefore their presence is considered benign.

        Visualize someone whispering Om mani padme hung in a dying animals ear. They are not expected to understand the essence of the mantra, or related practice, but the seed is hopefully planted for the next life, that meet the Dharma.

        This is really the same attitude of these massive publicly attended empowerments. There is no expectation beyond the auspiciousness of the chance to meet the Dharma.

    • Solenodon

      Oh and by the way, he doesn’t only turn these people into “slaves”, but also himself. He has yoked himself to that cart irreversibly. Samaya is by no means a one way responsibility.
      If you don’t hand select suitable people you may very well tie a millstone to your neck that will drag you down to the lower realms with the failing student that fails because you as the teacher were careless.

    • Kunzang Dorje

      This is quite a misunderstanding on both Sogyal’s side and students’ side. Samaya does not make anyone a slave. Samaya is a guideline for training in bodhicitta, it has to be taken seriously, because in general it is expected that the student taking samaya on is of “mahayana family”, which means the student has entered the path of mahayana. It is a commitment, but it stems from bodhicitta. So the student taking on samaya is supposed to be genuinely concerned for other beings and wanting to really attain realization for their sake – without this sincere motivation, samaya is really a burden, but it is not supposed to be. It is supposed to be follwed with joy and vigour and not with frowning and depression, like many students do.

      • Edward

        Thank you very much for this reply. It really brings the meaning of samaya into perspective for me.

      • Padma Vajra

        Isn’t what you just mentioned is “Mahayana Sambhar “ and the aspiration is to liberate all beings , as there are “Shravakyana Sila” that is to discipline one self to liberate one self . “Vajrayana Samaya” is far profound and commitment goes beyond dualistic views of he and me . It’s essence is Tathāgata garbha – The innate Buddha Nature !

      • Catlover

        My understanding of Samaya is that it is to keep the practice commitment (if there is one) and to constantly visualize everything as the mandala/deity, etc. Also, it is the bond between student and guru and the commitment to see the guru and everything else as pure. Also, it is to keep the Tantric, Bodhisattva, and Refuge vows.

  3. bert

    Agree.
    In fact there is still this subtile way of blaming the victims: Oh, there was no wrong doing, maybe YOU were just not prepared enough.
    Still carrying the suggestion the survivors didn’t understand completely… of course, not being well prepared…

    • Solenodon

      Determing the preparedness or unpreparedness of a student is 100% the teacher’s job and responsibility. Because a student can not know if he or she is prepared for something or not.

  4. Tenzin

    I wonder what would have been the consequences if SR’s students had been “properly prepared and warned about the Vajrayana path and commitments”?

    Actual, I think I know the answer from DKR’s writings: they had broken all their samaya (facing the hell realms), they could not even think “abuse” – far less talking about it, the harm students experienced had to be interpreted as “a skilful means” or “manifestations” (sth. like ‘those students who appeared to be abused are manifestations of the guru’) etc etc

    It follows, it was not a fault of Sogyal Rinpoche to NOT “properly prepare and warn about the Vajrayana path and commitments” because in that way he saved many from the grave consequences of breaking samaya by just even thinking “abuse”.

  5. Hessel Posthuma

    DJKR creates his own case. He does not really go into how SR proceeded in matters of teaching and samaya (SR did say that Dzogchen teachings are the highest, yet refrained from telling us, as far as I know, what following it up implied), nor does he go into “the letter”. What is abundantly clear from this letter is that SR did not act in a way that his audience understood (if he acted in accordance with pure perception), which is a mistake for a spiritual teacher, as far as I know. I don’t think HHDL would agree with DJKR here. He rather advised to never forsake the basic teachings as long as one cannot perform the miracles of the Vajra masters. I wish SR had observed these teachings. Now so much harm is done! To me our main mistake as a sangha is our devotion: we never confronted SR seriously with western values. Without a serious dialogue Buddhism will not integrate in the West.

    • catlover

      “Without a serious dialogue Buddhism will not integrate in the West.”

      And maybe that’s really a good thing after all. Does the West really want to become another Buddhocracy?

      • Rick New

        “Without a serious dialogue Buddhism will not integrate in the West.”

        “And maybe that’s really a good thing after all. Does the West really want to become another Buddhocracy?”

        Dialogue is what prevents “Buddhocracy”. It just has to be serious.

        • Catlover

          @Rick,

          Actually, the West waking up and realizing that these men on thrones are not super gods will be what keeps it from becoming a Buddhocracy. Disillusionment could be a good thing in the end, imo.

  6. Bill Dolive

    I have submitted the following question to DJK to various forums with the hopes for direct, and I mean direct, answers. Many people think DJK could be an important adviser to the Rigpa Sangha. I’m not so sure…but will try to keep an open mind.

    To DJK:

    1. As you have been asked to comment to the Rigpa Sangha on questions regarding guru devotion, I think it is appropriate to ask you, DJKR, directly if you have had or continue to have sexual relations with your own students?
    2. Khenpo Namdrol has strongly condemned, some by name, those who have accused SR of abuse. He has implied that they are possessed by demons. Please comment on your ideas of demonic possession in the context of our religion.
    3. Orgyen Topgyal has made comments that students who criticize their teacher are destined for vajra hell. Please comment.
    4. You yourself have posted 3 times publicly on Facebook some confusing commentary. a) The “contract” between student and teacher, which you ultimately deleted. b) A very silly advertisement for the Sikkim empowerments c) a photo of yourself with a busty lady and the hashtag “me too.” Sir, are you aware that some students have accused you of making light of a very serious situation, mocking the suffering of many of Rigpa students? Please comment.
    5. Your uncle Shenpen Dawa released a bizarrely confusing statement regarding duties of a vajrayana pracitioner to keep quiet if he feels a teacher has caused anyone harm. Although this statement was intended for his own students, it has been widely circulated in the Nyingma community. Can you comment?
    6. Do you feel that the Nyingma lineage as a whole has been disgraced by the action of Sogyal Rinpoche and those eminent Nyingma lamas who have defended him?

    I respectfully submit these very direct questions. I hope they will be presented to you by the “vision board” without editing. I will also be submitting these questions to the U.S. board and to the boards of European sanghas who will be hosting you in your talks.

    I have been a member of Rigpa Fellowship since 1991. I remain a member of the Rigpa Fellowship and am a member of the Dzogchen Mandala.

    • Diane Morgan

      Thank you, Bill, for asking these questions in a direct way. Clarity and transparency are key to healing here. It was helpful just to see the list of questions compiled in one place, let alone potentially receive answers to them. I look forward to that. I really appreciate DJKR for taking this on. And Bernie, thank you so much for your wonderful letter that inspired this discussion.

    • Ngejung Datso

      “I’m not so sure…but will try to keep an open mind.”

      To me, this statement implies that the questions are a set up for only hearing what you want to hear and not contemplating his offering on the subject as is. So why should he reply?

      • Bill

        Ngejung Datso… Your comment as to my motives are both unfounded and incorrect. I just want my questions truthfully answered. I have asked honest questions. Those of us who are members of Rigpa Fellowship might appreciate his honest answers.

        • Catlover

          @Bill,

          Do you really think DKR would answer your questions honestly? he didn’t answer any of the questions put to him in the long video. His answers were more like a politician, who answers without really answering. As for your questions regarding what other teachers said, DKR would just say that he cannot speak for them and you would have to ask *them* for an answer. he would avoid answering any other direct questions as well.

          • Catlover

            @Bill,

            Your questions are really good questions though. I believe these questions need to be asked. I just don’t think DKR would give you any satisfying answers, and neither would any other lama who is the same type.

            • LobzangTenzin

              @Catlover,

              What do you mean by ‘Lama who is of same type’… in a way where this issue has raised to such a horrendous situation, a big part of chunk is contributed by silly, narrow minded, pathetic and zero-merit human being such as yourself.
              P.S. Just watch where you’re going with your words…!!!
              POS…

    • Annie Bloch

      I reply to what you wrote about Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche. He is my Teacher. He is the son and Dharma heir of Dudjom Rinpoche. He is the half brother of Trinley Norbu, father of DJKR.
      Dudjom Rinpoche was a major teacher of Sogyal Rinpoche who spent years with Him.

      Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche wrote a letter to his students. Apparently, this is the letter mentioned by Bill and as such, it should not have been circulated. Later on, he wrote a public letter https://www.tersar.org/advice-from-rinpoche/

      It is not a statement about the situation around Sogyal, it is a general advice to practicioners.
      I advise you to read it carefully: Rinpoche is always very precise and subtle.

    • Lobzang Tenzin

      Bill Dolive… after all of this mayhem, my only wish would be phoney westerners such as yourself should have never even been disclosed this secret teachings…

  7. Pete

    The story so far:

    Sogyal is ‘disgraced,’ has gone into hiding and unlikely to come back, so a very exciting vacancy has opened up for the right lama: high-status, traditionally qualified, but modern, cool, approachable and almost painfully hip.

    Now, who might fit the bill?…….

    But there’s a problem: the previous incumbent turned out to be a massive pervert, but no matter how deranged his behaviour became, not a single lama seemed to mind in the slightest, we just kept turning up as if everything was absolutely fine and now people are asking a lot of very awkward questions.

    So, how could a suitable candidate polish his CV, soothe anxieties and deflect all this embarrassing attention at the same time? It can’t be that difficult, some of these people are what you used to call ‘Dzogchen junkies’, by now they’re probably desperate for a replacement dealer, they’ll believe almost anything.

    What about a little self-deprecating humour to start with, ( Hey guys , I can laugh at myself, see? so I’m not like Sogyal, you can trust me )

    Then a modicum of tepid criticism of Sogyal for not ‘warning’ students…..because, well, he’s gone anyway……but under no circumstances mention the serious damage he did to so many of his students by decades of appalling sexual abuse, violence, and psychological torture…….because that would only start them asking questions again, like: “You mean he should have warned us about…..that?”.

    Only talk about nice non-abuse related subjects: exciting but unquantifiable things like Dzogchen, the Nature of Mind (always a winner) and Samaya. Get in touch with your inner Trungpa: use rugged key-words like ‘responsibility’ ‘choice’ ‘sacrifice’ ‘biggest adventure’ ‘liberating decision’ and so on, as if being a Rigpa member was a heroic, spiritual version of joining the elite Special Forces and being repeatedly attacked by a violent sexual predator was like an assault course…..tough yes, but ultimately character-building in a wholesome, Vajrayana kind of way.

    Flattery works too: don’t forget to say how impressed you are by all of Sogyal’s students, and throw in some ’Pure Perception’ detergent, it removes those embarrassing, stubborn moral stains that no amount of ordinary rational thinking can.

    Patronize them a bit, but not too much, tell them they’re all good people but they’re responding very emotionally, negatively or defensively.

    Now, skirt round the issue of ‘qualifications’…..use it to plug the book instead.

    Then tie it all up neatly with references to Sogyal’s ‘Manifestation’ ( because of course he’s really a Buddha….get it?) and hint that it was all part of the plan all along, part of ‘the bigger picture.’

    So, there you go…..definitely not a cult at all, you said so yourselves in that blog after all.

    No sexual abuse, no violence or humiliation, and please, no need involve the law, nothing to see here, just move along now…….let’s all just get back to business as usual: you having your ‘egos crushed’……by me instead.

    Job’s as good as in the bag.

    • Bill Dolive

      You got it perfectly Pete.

    • Tahlia Newland

      🙂

    • Rose

      Nobody puts Pete in the corner! 🙂

    • Cathy Black

      I hear what you’re saying but from my point of view this is an incredibly cynical take on what DKR was saying. what is at stake here is the Buddhist tradition in particular vajrayana buddhism and perhaps you think it shouldn’t be around because you staunchly believe in your current understanding of the world and that that is superior. But what i see here is that by elevating your own western moral ideals over those of an entire ancient religious tradition and the people that come from it you are participating in egregious orientalism. Maintaining that vajrayana buddhism is a cult is orientalist and holding the superiority of ones own moral views over that of an entire religious tradition is an example of the very teleological thinking that justified colonialism. Many people hold different moral frameworks and it so happens that the Buddhist moral framework is oriented towards enlightenment rather than trying to make samsara as comfortable as possible.

      • Tenzin

        Cathy, the very basic moral framework in Buddhism is to not harm others. On that ground we can meet, on that ground we can start any discussion. We’re others harmed in long term and short term perspectives by SR? Yes! How were the harmed? By (the abuse of) Vajrayana and its concepts or means. A genuine discussion should therefore address these points: the harm been done, how that could happen and what means or concepts of Vajrayana play a key role in that in order to prevent future harm. But such a discussion is totally side tracked by DKR, Rigpa and also you who want to sale the harm as the result of clashing cultural values.

        May I remind you and everybody on the clean clear statement by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche who is both, a fully qualified Dzogchen and Mahamudra master?

        https://www.lionsroar.com/treat-everyone-as-the-buddha/

        What YMR stresses are the ethics what DKR stresses are the „beyond ethics and concepts“. Funnily DKR‘s statements still involve ethics and concepts which are to totally abide by the view of the guru as enlightened, not to even think „abuse“ and to re-interprete even the vilest actions of the guru as enlightened. You can’t do that by going beyond concepts. You need concepts to do that. (you need many concepts to achieve such a type of „brainwashing“) You need to ignore ethics in order to do that but ignoring ethics and avoidance of even to think of abuse are still ethical guidelines and not beyond ethics and concepts. Such demands, I think, are also not beyond „dualism“ either.

        DKR‘s approach basically serves the total power of the guru and it lacks compassion by denying harm. YMR‘s approach stresses ethics, empowers the students, does not deny harm and is very compassionate.

        So, everybody can think for herself what approach reflects more the teachings of the Buddha or core Buddhist values. It’s not as you, DKR and also Rigpa want to make us believe a matter of (poor / not well thought out) Western cultural values. I won’t fall pray to that trick and I hope others see through such tricks too.

      • Tenzin

        Cathy, the very basic moral framework in Buddhism is to not harm others. On that ground we can meet, on that ground we can start any discussion. Were others harmed in long term and short term perspectives by SR? Yes! How were they harmed? Basically through the actions of SR and by (the abuse of) Vajrayana and its concepts or means. A genuine discussion should therefore address these points: the harm been done, how that could happen (from the POV of dependent arising) and what means or concepts of Vajrayana play a key role in that in order to prevent future harm. But such a discussion is totally side tracked by DKR, Rigpa and also by you who want to sale the harm as the result of clashing cultural values.

        May I remind you and everybody on the clean clear statement by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche on Lion’s Roar who is both, a fully qualified Dzogchen and Mahamudra master? (It might be good to read it again and again…)

        What YMR stresses are the ethics what DKR stresses are the „beyond ethics and concepts“.

        Funnily DKR‘s statements still involve ethics and concepts which are to totally abide by the view of the guru as enlightened, not to even think „abuse“ and to re-interprete even the vilest actions of the guru as enlightened. You can’t do that by going beyond concepts. You need concepts to do that. (You need many concepts to achieve such a type of „brainwashing“… !!!) You need to ignore ethics, your perceptions, intuition, judgement, moral compass etc. in order to do that but ignoring ethics and avoidance of even to think of abuse are still ethical guidelines and not beyond ethics and concepts. Such demands, I think, are also not beyond „dualism“ either.

        DKR‘s approach basically serves the total power of the guru and the submission of the student, it lacks compassion by denying harm. YMR‘s approach stresses ethics, empowers the students, does not deny harm and is also very compassionate and makes far more sense.

        So, everybody can think for herself what approach reflects more the teachings of the Buddha or core Buddhist values. It’s not as you, DKR and also Rigpa want to make us believe a matter of (poor / not well thought out) Western cultural values. I won’t fall pray to that trick and I hope others see through such tricks too.

        • notsohopeful

          Thank you Tenzin, for articulating this so clearly.

          What you call tricks I call gas lighting and manipulation.

        • Cathy Black

          Hi Tenzin. Thanks for your reply. I will try to respond in a way to fully express my thoughts on this matter which I’m sure will not be popular but that’s what dialoging is all about. So here goes.

          From my perspective, the vajrayana is about power. Accruing power so to speak. It’s actually magic. Magic is interesting and we as westerners are so utterly squeamish of that. It’s our Christian societal values of the meek shall inherit the earth. We have such a negative view of power and I think we need to shift our perspective. This power is fundamentally creative and compassionate. But a compassionate guru will destroy your ego. When you enter into that relationship that is what you are asking them to do. Everyone loves the Dalai Lama because he conforms to what we think a spiritual teacher should be. He talks about kittens on YouTube. Great. But the vajrayana is challenging. It is in no way a viable path choice for people who want to have a comfy ego empowering samsaric existence – which, by the way, very importantly – there is nothing wrong with wanting that. The ego must be crushed NOT transformed (as I’ve read other people say) and in this relationship the guru can not be wrong. That is what makes us vulnerable to abuse. And like it or not that is the vajrayana. It is not there to boulster your ideas and play into your morality. Do I personally think SR f’d up by not fully preparing his students to enter into this very tenuous and dangerous relationship? Yes. and I believe this has been clearly stated by DKR as well.

          Everyone loves stories about milarepa and Marpa and Naropa jumping off a cliff cause his teacher told him to. That’s what orientalism is. It’s cute when it happens in a story.

          Your statement “everybody can think for themselves which approach reflects more the teachings of the buddha…” why is it that my thoughts and approach are “wrong” and a “trick”. I completely agree with your statement before you attacked my point of view, everyone needs to find the path which suits them but calling out vajrayana buddhism as stated by DKR as a cult followed by the brainwashed is, from my perspective, the actual trick here.

          • spyan ras gzigs

            “a vajrayana mater will destroy your ego”, I believe that’s bull crap. Ego does not have to be destroyed, it only has to be passed through, like a veil, curtain or fog if you will. What might be “destroyed” or left behind in the process is nothing but the veil, curtain or fog if you will.
            And talking about “magic”, well that’s really courageous. Anything used for negative purposes, which means in a selfish way, could be called black magic (woo, screech) and any rituals intended for good, unselfish purposes could be called white magic. At least that’s what they teach at Hogwarts, the school of wizardry.
            To threaten, to curse, to danm, to bewitch or to cast a spell on someone is supposed to be black magic and who uses it will in most cases fall prey to their own methods.

            • Cathy Black

              In respose to spyan ras zgyig:

              Oh Chenrezig!!!! It’s you!!!
              To some you emanate as Singhanada, the leader of the malicious nagas, and to others you are Amoghapasha, Nilakantha, and so forth.
              At times you are Hayagriva, the destroyer of hindrances and lord of the wrathful!
              But not too wrathful!
              You who says to gently spoon ego into oblivion not to kill it!!
              Don’t destroy ego!
              Don’t destroy ego!
              The very word destroy makes me too uncomfortable!
              Wrathful lord brush the veil aside!
              Sometimes you are black mahakala and others who shatter the three worlds!
              Please expound the highest metoo tantra!

              Thank you for your explanations of white and black magic. I am aware of the concepts of good white and bad black but that is not the type of supremacy about which I am speaking…

              Let me leave you with two quotes from Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

              “When you experience your wisdom and the power of things as they are, together, as one, then you have access to tremendous vision and power in the world. You find that you are inherently connected to your own being. That is discovering magic.”

              “Tantra is the hot blood of spiritual practice. It smashes the taboo against unreasonable happiness; a thunderbolt path, Swift, joyful and fierce. There is no authentic tantra without profound commitment, discipline, courage and a sense of wild, foolhardy, fearless abandon.”

          • Joanne Clark

            Cathy does His Holiness talk about kittens on Youtube? Ha ha, I’ve never seen that. If your comment was meant to disparage him and infer that he teaches some kind of Buddhism Lite, then you might want to investigate further. There are books from teachings he has given on Dzogchen, Mahamudra and the Vajrayana. There are also a lot of teachings on the great Indian masters.
            And when you say “The ego must be crushed NOT transformed”, then maybe you see this as the opposite of Buddhism Lite– a sort of Tough Love Buddhism you are promoting?
            Anyway, His Holiness once taught that we actually need a strong ego to uphold the Bodhisattva path. And he also, as Shantideva does, distinguishes between a positive ego of self-confidence and the negative ego of self-importance. And you know, when I think of how abuse can really diminish a person, so it feels hard to go on, hard to even get up in the morning, then that looks a little bit like a crushed ego to me, not what I would want to aspire to, not what I call a spiritual path. I think this attitude of “beating can make a person enlightened” is very dangerous.
            And my impression of the reply from DJKR echoes what many have said: where is the acknowledgement of harm?

            • Cathy Black

              Hi Joanne,

              Thanks for your reply. I definitely wasn’t trying to disparage the Dalai Lama or call it buddhism lite and I apologize if it sounded that way. I was ineloquently trying to say that there are many paths of Buddhism many teachers many methods. The Dalai Lama fits into the mold of what many of us as westerners believe a spiritual teacher should be like. And that is very good. There is nothing wrong with that. But there are many examples of teachers in the past and present who do not fit that mold and nor should they (from my perspective)
              I do not personally believe that there should be a good ego that should be cultivated and a bad ego which should be abandoned. When I used the word crushed, I meant it as destroyed, into oblivion. Not crushed in the sense of there being something still remaining. A something which will feel diminished.
              The methods a teacher may use to destroy ego may vary from kindness to being ignored to wrath and yes, when you enter the path of vajrayana and take a teacher as your guru you must be fully aware that it is very dangerous.

              When ego is removed from the equation there is no self-confidence. There is just confidence. Brilliance. View. Etc

              I’m personally terrified that we as westerners are going to moralize away the sexual energies, methods and traditions of tantra – a centuries old spiritual tradition – all for the sake of making us more comfortable.

              As for your inquiry about DKR not addressing the harm which was inflicted by SR. I honestly don’t understand. The way I read it, it was acknowledged. That SR Made the very huge mistake of not preparing his students properly. The actions in themselves are not where the harm lies per se (again from my perspective) but in the lack of preparation.

              This is my understanding. And it is undoubtedly very flawed as I have learned very little and have much grasping to my very important ego which causes me to always think I’m right but I aspire to continue to keep learning with an open mind.

              • Solenodon

                Sexual tantra is only for people of the highest capacity after suitable training in the completion stage practices for both participants.

                Having sex with a lama has nothing to do with buddhist tantra.

              • Joanne Clark

                Cathy, what you say holds in a secret relationship with a fully qualified teacher. The situation here is one where the qualifications of the teacher have eroded to the point where clear abuses are occurring and significant harm is occurring. When I say that DKJR is ignoring the harm, this is what he’s ignoring. He refuses to acknowledge that physical and sexual abuse is wrong, full stop. Have there been some unique and rare instances where a gifted student received benefit from a mahasiddha using unusual and maybe criminal actions? Yes. RARE. Maria gave Milarepa very extraordinary and abusive challenges to clear his karma and further his realizations. That is true– But Milarepa did not use such non-traditional means on any of his students! His student Rechungpa was very rebellious and you would think he needed his “ego crushed”– however, Milarepa just became kinder and kinder towards him when he rebelled. If this crazy wisdom was something to be practiced widely, as Trungpa Rinpoche and others have done, then surely Milarepa would have carried on the tradition? So in this context, I find it extraordinary that DJKR will not address the fact that abuse is a problem and causes real harm.

                In the present situation, leaders need to assess what is of most benefit to students, what will avoid harm and what will ensure the furtherance of the Vajrayana. In this context, with the understanding of Dharma so low amongst Westerners and the potential for corruption amongst Tibetan Buddhist teachers so high and the faith-based leanings of Westerners so rampant, it seems that we have to put aside crazy wisdom in the West and focus on making a stable and ethical foundation. That’s how the Buddha taught.

              • Catlover

                @Cathy,

                Regardless of what kind of lama “methods” you prefer, the Dalai Lama is really a serious Vajrayana practitioner with a totally wrathful side. (I’ve seen it myself and there have been times when he totally destroyed my ego, lol!) The side of him (that we don’t often see on TV) is that of a mystic, and a Dzogchen master, who takes his Tantric/Buddhist practice VERY seriously. He is really a LOT like the Fifth Dalai Lama, and I believe that he believes himself to be his direct reincarnation. He feels closer to him than any of the others, I believe. His private life involves many of the practices of the Fifth. Read about the 5th and you get insight into the 14th and his deeper essence. (He is also quite capable of mind-to-mind transmissions as well.) His methods are very traditional, but he is more discrete about it. He doesn’t need to “prepare” students for those transmissions because when people receive them, they know it’s something special. I am confused by the fact that he considers Sogyal to be a close friend. That bothers me. It seems that he and Sogyal have some kind of connection going back to the Fifth (and Sixth) Dalai Lama(s). Btw, the regent was actually very much like Sogyal too. (A conniving, womanizing jerk, lol! Sogyal’s personality hasn’t changed much.)

                In this life, Sogyal is nothing but a Dzogchen wannabe who somehow got elevated to true lama status by the status quo. THAT part is the most shameful of all. If Sogyal was just an isolated cult leader, we could just say there is a bad apple in every barrel, but since so many lamas endorse him and respect him as an authentic master, his bad reputation sullies the whole Tibetan tradition. He has damaged the way I see Tibetan Buddhism, and I was once the most devoted devotee you can imagine, (not of Sogyal, btw, lol! He was never my teacher, (even if I was present when he gave one of his surprise “Dzogchen transmissions,” (which are more like psychic vampire attacks than actual transmissions). I suppose he would say he is my root guru, but my heart knows he is NOT. He is simple someone who attacked me psychically, and I fought my way out of his influence. Brrrr!

              • Catlover

                Actually, it was interesting how I managed to come out of the influence of the little toad (Sogyal). I went to the teachings of Yangsi Rinpoche, founder of Maitripa College, (who is also one of the Dalai Lama’s students). He touched me, sent a blessing, and boom! Sogyal’s influence just melted away and I felt like myself again.

              • catlover

                @Cathy,

                “I’m personally terrified that we as westerners are going to moralize away the sexual energies, methods and traditions of tantra – a centuries old spiritual tradition – all for the sake of making us more comfortable.”

                I don’t think you need to fear about that, Cathy. There are too many gurus who want to use Tantra as an excuse to have sex with students and prey on vulnerable young women. There are also too many women who are only too happy to offer themselves to a guru because it makes them feel special, or they will continue to be tricked into having sex by gurus. As long as people are people, there will always be groups who behave this way, so your fear that the West is going to “moralize away the sexual energies, methods and traditions of tantra” is not going to come true. For the few, rare people on this planet people who actually may practice TRUE Tantra, those practices are secret anyway, and real tantrics will continue to practice in this way, regardless of what the “moral” climate is. Also, even if they couldn’t do Tantra in the West, they would just go back to India and Nepal. There will always be opportunities to do all kinds of Tantra there. Since Tantra seems to be fascinating to people in the West, I don’t think you need to worry that it will all be “moralized” away. maybe there will be Dharma groups that do “moralize” it, for those who don’t feel comfortable in a “crazy wisdom” setting, but there will always be “crazy wisdom” settings for people who want it, even if it has to go underground and be more secret. (That might actually be a bad thing.)

          • Solenodon

            Ego can not be destroyed, it can only pointed out to the owner of the ego that is doesn’t exist and has never existed. Then it will dissolve by itself.

            Trying to destroy the ego means attributing it some real existence and as long as you do/try that, you make certain that you won’t get rid of it because with any animosity towards it you continue to give it existence in your mind. If you try to destroy your ego, you become self-destructive.

            • Joanne Clark

              Cathy, I wrote “Marpa” in my last comment– automatic spell check had other ideas!

    • Tenzin

      Tank you Pete. Very to the point.

    • Lobzang Tenzin

      No need for all this dramas guys, you’ll deserve your own ‘CUSTOMIZED’ gurus and yeah… remember though, your bill fits perfectly to your own self-realisation and That eventually leading to your own ‘CUSTOMIZED’ enlightenment…. Good Luck finding your own bliss…

    • Nir Ishvara

      @Pete, nailed it. 🙂

  8. Dear Rinpoche,
    I’m deeply grateful for your thoughtful response, your willingness to engage in conversation about these important topics, and your eagerness to clarify these aspects of Vajryana Buddhism.

    Your response about “pure perception” has led me to wonder if I’ve misunderstood this principle altogether. You see, I took what Bernie wrote about pure perception to say that we could paint everything in a positive light. But doesn’t that entangle us in the conceptual mind? Aren’t we just fabricating a story with our conceptual mind rather than seeing things as they are? When in fact, how can we know Sogyal Rinpoche’s motivation or intentions? I had understood pure perception as being beyond the ordinary mind, or at least recognizing everyone’s buddha nature, regardless of how they behave. But the way you describe it makes it seem, at least to me, very much within the realm of ordinary mind. It’s very possible I’ve misunderstood you. At this point, I feel uncertain about the principle of pure perception. If you have anything more to say about that in your talks, I would greatly appreciate it.

  9. Firstly, I wouldl ike to express my admiration and gratitude to Tahlia for her painstaking, committed and extraordinarily mature articles on this whole saga. Her gift to everyone who reads them will be lasting. If RIGPA andSogyal and other Masters dont respond with equal integrity they will be the eventual losers.

    I was fortunate in attending some of SR’s teachings in the 1980’s-1996 when many were inspired and have stayed with me. I was equally fortunate never to become closely involved with the inner circle.I saw the periphery of what clearly developed and I can only imagine the sense of loss that many students are feeling now.
    What astounds me is that DJKR actually begins his letter dated Feb 21 by effectively dismissing the importance of the whole matter by stating: ” so sorry to take so long to reply, I am really lazy, so I pretend to be busy…..” This is a complete denial of the pain in which the original letters were written, the truthfulness of those who have addressed these issues and the seriousness of the acts committed by Sogyal. I find it hard to believe anyone in his position could allow himself to write such a patronising and rude opening.
    It relegates the rest of his letter to the realms of triviality and certainly does not in my mind ( I am perfectly happy if that is normal and not at all pure) invite any confidence in his having a future role to play in teaching former RIGPA students.
    Lastly, to finish with the concept of “crushing ego” seems to show scant appreciation of the damage that has been done. To give him his due when I went to his early teachings SR always used to teach in terms of pacifying the ego, not crushing it. Yet another example of an outdated, unsound approach?
    We have your articles to refer to here Tahlia and I am afraid that reading DJKR’s letter sounds to me just more of the same.
    Thank you again for being prepared to put your head above the parapet at such a moment in time.

    • Ngejung Datso

      “This is a complete denial of the pain in which the original letters were written…”

      Oh so that is what that was, you say? Who’s being condescending here? I wouldn’t expect anymore replies.

  10. Ex Victim

    Dzongsar Khyentse is only one voice, from an already compromised seat. Taking on a tone of reconciliation while already having betrayed a careless irresponsibility and lack of care for the truth.

    What we have learned in all this is that there is a vast number of teachers who want absolutely nothing to do with Sogyal and have been that way for a long time. They have even been warned off by their teachers and prophesy told that “in future it will all come out so don’t connect with them”.

    Like on Rigpa spokesperson – he touched on the cult word – but only to Segue to “how Vajrayana can and should be” and avoid the promised balance to both sides that he seems to put up. Its all dealt with in my book, a plug thrown in there.

    This ego crushing is a distortion, pure perception is distorted into self delusion. Pure perception means that all beings have Buddha nature not just your teacher … including those who are being raped. Some who desperately ask that some actual emptiness teachings be taught as reward for sacrificing their body on the “vajrayana altar”.

  11. BS Caller

    The thing about his self denigration section, which I actually don’t mind is that there is no aspiration to do better. This group of covert narcissists tend to be – I have this negative quality … that’s how I am, I’m not interested so much in any progressive path – just leveraging the folk culture of compliance engineering.

  12. Thomas Gentry-Funk

    Hi Folks,
    I so admire Bernie and Bert’s work. They have helped me gain perspective and understanding of Buddhadharma I owe them a huge debt. The only thing I would say about the connection/samaya and the like between SR and students is that I heard, on a few occasions, the warning about what it meant to receive the teachings. I was trying to remember the exact words SR said about three years ago; the effect was that we are bound together in a relationship that is permanent. I also heard other instructors talk about the very serious nature of the practice, particularly as it related to Vajrasattva and the vows involved. The questions Bernie raises are excellent ones and help inform me of the serious questions we have to answer. I can only say that I so appreciate this process and I remain devoted and committed ton this sangha. Be well my friends.

  13. L Lane

    It was a very good answer.

    The comment about cult potential should not be underestimated for all Buddhist communities. There are many who want to pay or play at being lamas but haven’t done the work and do not have the requisite realization and clarity of insight.

  14. SW

    “Onward Christian soldiers?” didn’t you always think that was an odd turn of phrase?

    “Elite Special Forces?” How much odder is it for a Buddhist to swallow that whole hog?

  15. Jan de Vries

    I felt very uncomfortable reading the answer to Bernie.
    DKR seems not to realise with what vajrayana can be associated in the west.
    If you were told at the first time when entering a rigpa center, that if you practise well, you have to give your master a blowjob, have intercourse with him, are ordered to undress and get a rope around your neck and treated like a donkey, what would you do? What would you think? You just run away.
    No one came to rigpa to encounter these abnomalities.

  16. Tahlia Newland

    I don’t think these issues can be satisfactorily examined in a monologue. Being not (yet) as cynical as Pete, I give DZK credit for doing his best, but the issues here require something more than us all waiting for a lama to hear us and respond in a way that makes sense, and it certainly requires more than simply being told the traditional responses by someone who knows them well. What is required is, at the least, dialogue, that we examine the issues together in an interview or better a panel format. There is too much even in this brief reply that requires further questions, too many areas where subtleties are being missed because no one is there to point them out. For example, Rinpoche jumps from absolute to relative viewpoints without making the viewing angle clear, and that is a recipe for confusion.

    Unless he makes it quite clear that seeing purely does not mean that no harm has been done, I’m not sure there can be any meaningful conversation at all. There is a very good reason why the teachings warn us not to lose the action in the view.

    Imagine DZK, Mingyur Rinpoche and a few people from the What Now Facebook group in the same room with a moderator and a bunch of key questions. Now that would stop the slippery points from getting away. Would Rinpoche be interested in that?

    • French Observer

      That’s a great idea, why not make a formal request to DZK about a Q&A session with the list of prepared questions.

      I don’t think you will get two Vajrayana masters teaching in the same room, especially when they are not from the same lineage.

    • Tenzin

      To run a panel has been an idea from the start I had. We discussed that 6 months ago in Berlin already. I still think an open panel / conference discussion with a cry good moderation would serve the enlightenment (Aufklärung) or the increase of understanding the best. Everybody could learn and benefit from it.

      I think, we can’t get a better understanding by only listening to one or two selective voices. IMO a panel or conference should include:

      1) properly qualified Vajrayana masters – at best including HHDL and Mingyur Rinpoche
      2) survivors of abuse
      3) tibetologists / academics – best if they are also practitioners
      4) psychologists – familiar with trauma, abuse, domestic violence
      5) anthropologists – especially from the branch of how knowledge is created
      6) maybe a defending and a critical sangha member of a Sangha were abuse happened

      The topic needs to be focussed on the many levels and angles it’s complexity is built upon.

      • Tenzin

        It should read „a very good moderation“ …

      • ref

        Why not make it a video conference ?

        • Joanne Clark

          It would have to be a video conference– and I think the very, simple presence of such an effort would have an enormous effect on shifting many intractables. Which is why it is very unlikely to happen.

      • Tahlia Newland

        Perfect, Tenzin. Yes, this exactly what is needed.

      • Catlover

        I doubt that HHDL would be able to participate in a panel like that. HHDL is withdrawing from the public eye. He will no longer be traveling to the United States/Canada. He is getting old and his health isn’t good, (regardless of how often the Tibetans reassure everyone that he is in “perfect” health). He is not well, or they wouldn’t say he can no longer take long flights to the US/Canada. He even appointed two representatives to stand in for him in the West. Your panel would have to take place in India for HHDL to be able to participate, (if you’re lucky), because he will not be leaving India much anymore. I suspect that he will stop traveling around India soon.

        • Catlover

          Also, if the conference was via video, I think the most you could hope for from HHDL would be a brief video, which would be played at the beginning of the conference, where he would make a public statement.

  17. Hui Ching

    Yes. in any vajrayana commitment, it is almost likened to shackling oneself as a slave. To me, it is really true to its meaning. It is very very subtle and I believe whether Western students being prepare or not, is not the issue or even if the guru is qualified under the circumstances. When I first became a Buddhist, I was well prepared hearing things like varjrayana practice which involved sexuality being a slippery path to Hell if I am not careful. My practice have no labels. Now I know I am doing is Dzogchen and I understood MahaMudra. I did not choose. It chose me. The practice came to me. What I know my root teacher is non-tantric, Mahayana. Other than that, I don’t know nor I want to know. The practice came to me and I made a choice. For example, you are on a surfboard and a large wave came. If I am on a surfboard, I must know how to use it and make a choice when the wave came in. It is not about preparedness nor the qualifications of my trainer. It is about my ability, the capability manipulating my skills. Mentally skillful and confident. In Mandarin, I call it “zhi-chai”. ThanHsiang’s KuanInn(Avalokitesvara/Cherizig) is called “KuanZhiChaiPuSa”. Recently, I found out tummo is also known as kundalini. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche also have this practice. He was married. It is Indian tantric practice based on sexuality, usually through sex. You can have lucid, clear light, yogic fire and heat. These are present. But you need a guru. You must and is important. What the author said about SR’s subtle intention to have this scandal on himself for his student’s and vajrayana world to address this is very insightful. From what I see, there is still a gap, the rate and quality of understanding between Western and Eastern practitioners as to the semantic seriousness of words coming between a guru and a Western student.

  18. thanks to Bernie Schreck for addressing the questions to DKR and publishing the answers from an author who obviously has not witnessed or been affected by any kind of abuse. maybe that’s why he does not seem to take it seriously and does not commit himself to help cure and prevent such abuse in the future. of course no one could expect that he apologises for the bad deeds of a colleague, but to ignore them (even if they would have happened because of unsufficient “preparation”) is just what it is: ignorant.

  19. … or DZK as others abbreviate.

  20. Marge

    It looks like Dzongsar’s letter to Bernie could well be connected to Rigpa’s ongoing damage limitation exercise – after all, Dzongsar is their advisor.

    The clock has been ticking since Dzongsar’s last announcement regarding Sogyal and Rigpa. He knew that he had to write something sooner or later, and I believe that he chose to do it in a form of this reply to Bernie, as he knew that it would get widespread publication. Anyway, Dzongsar’s worded his response in a deliberately soft and ambiguous way – he’s continuing to protect the reputation of Sogyal and Rigpa as much as he can.

    Let us not forget that in August last year, Dzongsar came forward and issued an unusual response in which he did not state whether or not he believed that Sogyal had committed sex abuse. But he did shockingly state, “On balance, I would argue that Sogyal Rinpoche has contributed far more benefit to this world and Buddhadharma than harm.”

    It is absolutely incumbent upon any Buddhist teacher to be responsible for a safe environment for students to study. However, I believe that Dzongsar is still not showing enough consideration towards Sogyal’s victims, some of whom are young women, who are emotionally and physically scarred, and who are still having to receive therapy.

    Also, let us not forget that Dzongsar posted that most shocking “Sex Contract” on his Facebook page last year, deliberately coinciding with the controversy surrounding Sogyal and Rigpa. For those of you who didn’t see it, it was the most inappropriate joke in the form of a legal “Sex Contract”. This sex contract listed numerous things that any rinpoche and student signed mutual consent for, such as – the student would allow the rinpoche to give them anal sex, vaginal sex, and battery, and the student would also accept being urinated and defacated upon. Moreover, it also stated that if the student got pregnant by the rinpoche, she must have an abortion. This “Sex Contract” deeply upset many people, particulalry as Dzongsar posted it on his public Facebook page where many young Buddhists saw it, some of whom were minors. As a result of the uproar, within 24 hours the post was taken down. However, despite receiving many complaints, Dzongsar failed to issue an apology to the many people who were not only insulted during such a sensitive time, but who were deeply concerned about the damage that it did to the image of Buddhism.

    After all of this, and his most recent letter, it is no surprise that Rigpa want Dzongsar to be its advisor to its governing board, which consists of a small group of Sogyal’s closest supporters.

    Each to their own, but I for one will always listen to Holiness the Dalai Lama, who publicly criticised Sogyal, saying that he is disgraced.

  21. Zla'od

    You can’t critique the belief system that led to the abuse, by using the language and ethos of that system. Dzongsar is trying to reinforce the belief system that sustains him and others like him. This is a trap.

    If you ride with outlaws, then you’re an outlaw too. If you side with rapists, what does that make you?

    • ref

      If you ride with outlaws, then you’re an outlaw too. If you side with rapists, what does that make you?

      If someone would take that to heart seriously there would have been severe consequences and actions way before last August, I guess.

    • notsohopeful

      Good point!

  22. Eric Shimake

    Understood correctly Sogyal Rinpoche’s only fault was compassion, which is not a fault. The Western mind sexualizes everything into polarized binary power struggles. He tries to pull us out of our own shit and we criticize him for getting his hand dirty. Please forgive us our unfortunate shapes. All is well

  23. Almost **no** teacher gives a series of contractual warning before receiving a weekend empowerment or pointing-out instructions so this argument fails. Also, this eternally binding, fear of the after life, I think not, Two noted Rinpoches said “samaya is used a way to manipulate and control people, and keep their community together.” Period. There is nothing to fear in open, unconditioned empty space. This slave owner, fear, danger warning things it utter trash and needs to be updated like to we did in Christianity. Anam Thubten reportedly says “you can study with me as long as YOU find my teachings helpful, no thrones, brocade, no sycophants, no eternal unquestioning commitments, and yet he is a jewel. We have to update and separate the real heart essence of these beautiful teachings from ancient dated traditional human culture that was used to support Tibetan social structure which has many problems, for them to endure and survive in the west.

  24. Bill

    I would respectfully ask that DJK not sit on the grand, ornate vajra throne at Lerab Ling or in any Rigpa center or temple. In fact, that throne should remain empty for the foreseeable future, if not forever. We are taught that those who teach from such thrones are buddhas, representatives of Guru Rinpoche in our time. Well on the absolute level they, and we, are buddhas. But we live in a relative world, and we have discovered that some teachers who sit on these thrones have embarrassed and disgraced our sacred fellowship. Hope DJK has the humility to avoid that throne. I would include O.T. and Khenpo Namdrol on that list as well.

  25. A Life Invested

    One thing I have been trying to get Rigpa to reflect on for months now, and Dzongsar Khyentse is the person they went to for advice about this, is that there needs to be an honorable non-samaya-breaking way for Dzogchen Mandala students to leave. The only solution which has been offered by Dzongsar K so far is to write Sogyal Rinpoche a letter. Now, that may be reasonable when the lama is well. But to a man who is very ill, that is a very different story. For me it is a cruel thing to do.
    It may not even be necessary if this thing SR has about not seeing other Dzogchen teachers without permission is dismissed once and for all, because it is NOT demanded in the tradition. There are plenty other Dzogchen teachers who do not ask this of students. I was never comfortable with it, and I am disappointed in myself to have ‘obeyed’ this for so many years.
    If we can just say, yes, I am grateful and appreciative for all I have received from Sogyal Rinpoche, but I must see other teachers now, this could work. I AM A STUDENT, NOT A PRISONER. And especially considering his behavior toward my fellow sangha members, I do not consider exclusivity to him to be a valid request according to the dharma. It never was, but now it is a necessity for the spiritual health and growth of many of us to be able to step away and see other teachers. I am currently doing so, and it is very helpful to me.
    I do not wish to watch videos of SR teaching, i wish to leave them in the devoted space in which they were originally received. SURELY Dzongsar Khyentse can understand this? To watch more now will only underscore the manipulative nature of the way he often taught, which I managed to put aside for years, but not really. It has bothered me for a long time. Though my inner wisdom has in many ways become more accessible through the teachings I have received through him, certain aspects of his teaching methods, which have grown more dominant over the years, have undermined my ability to listen to my own wisdom, rather than enhancing it. I have put aside much in these 28 years, and now I must spend the time to reflect, to heal, and to find my way.
    In the teachers I’m now listening too, there is a very different personal, integrative message, often surrounding very familiar words. This is why it is beneficial to have more than one teacher. Because you can then see different angles, and find the way that works for you and your sincere practice. This involves thinking for oneself. Something gets eroded when you listen to only one teacher, when that teacher starts to tell everyone repeatedly that every thought they have is irrelevant. This distorts the teachings of Dzogchen regarding the risings of the mind. I have taken those teachings for 28 years and love and respect them with all my heart. I try to follow them, and they have been the touchstone for me through very difficult times, including now. I do not like to see people manipulated by those teachings into dismissing every thought as invalid. You lose the ability to reason and think, which is both necessary in Buddhism (and advised by the Buddha), and vital in life. And I’ve seen too many people dismiss their very real concerns and cares due to this bypassing way of dealing with their thoughts. This was a later development, because in the late 80’s and early 90’s we had an environment in the teachings which allowed and even encouraged questions — right there, spontaneous from the individual, not filtered through student editors who tried to present everything in a worshipful, condensed and ‘positive’ package.
    Dzongsar Khyentse, for all his writing, has still not clarified for me what sort of official samaya or obligation I have, and I doubt he ever will. I have had deep and profound experiences in the teachings with Sogyal Rinpoche and will always be grateful for those insights. What caliber they were, who knows. I know I have a spiritual bond and I wish to respect that. But I was not ‘properly prepared’ BEFORE that bond was established — it had me from my first retreat. Sogyal Rinpoche himself, when he later mentioned samaya, simplified it as a heart connection to the teachings and the teacher. (And told us not to worry about it.) That is the only samaya I accepted and the only one I feel naturally fits. That I will honor, but I still need to move on.
    SOMEONE needs to understand this — I have written to people in Rigpa USA about it. The spiritual path of the STUDENT needs to be honored as well. We all have the Buddha nature and are worthy of respect. I do not think DJK’s stated way of looking at things respects that, at all. Why this talk of “smashing egos”, when we are taught the ego does not exist, it is an illusion. Why not learn to see past that illusion, instead of smashing a human being’s ability to see, function and think clearly.
    A teacher with thousands of students cannot possibly know each student better than that student knows her/himself. And so we must retain the ability to think and act for ourselves without threats of samaya-breaking and hells for simply needing to go another way. This is of the utmost importance.
    Regardless what is true or false about these ideas of hell, etc, it gets into ones head on a subliminal level and breeds fear, and cannot be good for anyone at the moment of death and throughout their bardo experience. It’s cruel and unusual punishment for something which is not a crime. It is punishment for simply being who you are and recognizing how you learn and what you need in order to follow the Buddhist path. It is itself controlling and manipulative behavior which invites the worst in any power structure.
    I would say it needs to change, but there are other lamas and lineages who don’t operate this way. The feudalistic power structure is not the only way Tibetan Buddhism operates in the modern era. If I’d known this was the basis of the tradition I was a part of, I’d never have given my life over to it. I’d have gone to another teacher, and I would not now be in this position. I’m sure that’s true for many.
    Let those of us who need to move on, do so in peace and with the blessings of a compassionate heart. Your chosen position is not the only way. Let us go, with love, not threats. Open your heart to us, for real. Hold us with that palm upward.
    This is what I want to say to Dzongsar Khyentse and Rigpa.

    • Adamo

      Your comment hit the nail on the head, from my feelings and understanding of the situation.
      Plus that I still think Sogyal has to clean his stories now.

    • Solenodon

      There is a way for dzogchen mandala members to leave “honorably” without violating samaya. That is if they do it without negative thoughts or a grudge, not even a subtle one.

      That won’t free them of the samaya connection tough, nothing can undo a samaya connection. That’s the reason why so much caution is advised in the texts for students and teachers, BEFORE both parties agree to get involved in that way.

      • A Life Invested

        To Solenodon. Sorry but I do not allow the thought police in my mind. I have many thoughts, and to judge and sort them as positive and negative is not my way. I think, I reason. I feel, many things. I recognize these as transient, and the Buddhist teachings are based on this recognition. (Still, Buddhism allows for contemplation and analysis.) So to say leave “without negative thoughts” is to me a complete misunderstanding of the human mind, and Buddhist teaching. I mean no insult to you here, I’m sure you are repeating something you’ve heard. But there is no such thing as a human brain free of negative thoughts. That should be self-evident.

        • Solenodon

          So you don’t categorize for example thoughts of hate that compel you to hurt someone as harmful? You might hurt someone because it doesn’t occur to you that this is a harmful thought that you shouldn’t put into words or deeds?

          • A Life Invested

            Solendon, please. That is a complete misreading of what I said. Sorry if I wasn’t clear, but it’s hard to predict what someone is going to make out of it.
            I’m talking about allowing oneself the ability to think and feel in the privacy of one’s own mind, without judgement or threat of the hells for some nuance of thought that comes through your head. Something your statement challenged. And no, I don’t think it’s helpful to label the subtleties of the mind when dealing with pain. Is pain a negative thought/emotion? Or is it an experience. Because if you want labels, that’s the one I’d use. Pain. Because I have a lot of that right now. And so do many people I care about.
            But most of the negativity frankly is aimed at myself. The writing has been on the wall for years and I didn’t know how to look at it, how to see it. I didn’t do what I needed to do, for my own path. There is a lot of thinking, feeling, remembering, dealing with it, now. For all of us I’m sure. This is both transient and meaningful and necessary. And very subtle.
            Your example of hate is extreme. I really don’t hate anyone in my spiritual world. No one is in danger from me. I’m pretty tame. I have a lot of love for everyone involved, and right now that is manifesting as pain. Is that enough labeling for you? Because for me, it’s just intensity of feeling. Working it’s way to be acknowledged in my own being. But also space. There is still space present, to move, to breathe. As long as I stay with that, there is hope.

    • Kristen Drake

      This is such a thoughtful, meaningful response. I hope it helps other Rigpa students as much as it has helped me

    • Joanne Clark

      A Life Invested, that is beautifully stated and totally to the point. Thank you.

    • Tahlia Newland

      You speak for me, too, except that I do not believe there is any problem leaving. We just follow His Holiness’s advice to not leave with hatred in our heart and to always honor the good we received.

  26. The Shadow

    “The idea for this book arose from my observation of the power of the human shadow in both the contemporary spiritual scene and my own personal life. It was obvious to me that the abuses and hysteria that had occurred within many of today’s spiritual communities reflected shadow features of both leaders and members that, once exposed, could not be integrated. At the same time, my own experience and my knowledge of traditional spiritual approaches had convinced me that all these occurrences were not necessarily indicative of a negative situation. Rather, such circumstances were part of the evolutionary process obviously required for primal issues to be brought to the surface. Additionally, it became apparent to me that by place the spotlight of blame primarily on individual teachers for abuses within their spiritual organizations, attention was diverted from the potentially useful consideration of practitioners’ own shadow issues.”

    -V.J. Fedorschak,
    “Shadow on the Path : Clearing the Psychological Blocks to Spiritual Development”

    • veggiegirl

      Never heard of Fedorschak, but he and his shadow certainly have a point here.

  27. matilda7

    It is not that people are “elevating your own western moral ideals over those of an entire ancient religious tradition”. There is nothing particularly immoral about Vajrayana Buddhism, as the Dalai Lama and Mingyur Rinpoche have pointed out. I lived with Tibetans for a long time and i can assure you their behaviour pretty much follows the precepts of not killing, stealing, etc – aside from a more casual approach to marriage and romantic partnerships that may be frowned upon from a Christian perspective. Generally, it is Western morals that they find wanting.

    The Vajrayana hasn’t traditionally been a path of sleaze, debauchery or behaviour that harms disciples. But claiming that Vajrayana entitles a qualified guru to behave like a lecher or to adopt a licentious and sexist version of Western behaviour (as SR & DKR have done) is to give the culprits an escape clause. Sogyal Rinpoche has harmed people and Dzongsar Khyentse has shown an intolerance and lack of understanding of the # metoo movement and people still feel he needs to explain his social media excesses and convey compassion for SR’s victims. It’s about traditional male dynamics of power, not about Vajrayana being a path that’s too edgy for Westerners who you believe are clinging to Christian morality.

    • Joanne Clark

      Well said, Matilda!

    • Catlover

      @Matilda,

      Actually, Vajrayana was originally run by women who hung out in cemeteries and danced in a circle, and held rituals. It was considered an honor for men to be included in their rituals. However, somehow over the years, powerful men got hold of Tantra and changed it for their pwn purposes. I’m not saying all men are jerks, but men in powerful religious and/or political positions are generally not good people, (because power corrupts), so it was the men in power that corrupted the Vajrayana.

  28. matilda7

    My above was in response to Cathy Black. Don’t know why it didn’t fall in line!

  29. Hello dear readers,

    Although I haven’t managed to read all the stories, comments, articles and related news to this occurrence, I feel propelled to express an alternative angle. I have no authority to commend on this and may be considered blabbering complete horseshit. please forgive my imperfections, as I will try too.

    First of all, I am personally very sorry all the individuals involved in this minor drama, and please, in the light of the horrors this world contains, it is a minor drama.
    Personally I have had the extreme good fortune to encounter the Buddhist teachings early in my life, around 13 years old in the Netherlands and have experimented, experienced and enjoyed a wide range of spiritual lineages, teachers and perspectives. I have been well aware of all the challenges Europe faces in order to let go of its horrific historic war mentality and I am personally extremely grateful that SR has shouldered such an immense vision whilst being a refugee himself and tirelessly aiming to preserve some of the most valuable cultural, spiritual and intellectual inheritances of this Earth.

    I find it disgraceful to hold SR responsible for failing to inform all individuals involved about the contractual aspect of this particular spiritual lineage.
    As we all know he has attracted many individuals and it would be simply impossible to expect from him to interview every individual who expresses interest in these teachings.
    I think the responsibility completely lies by the individual to research and inform yourself before you devote your entire life to a chosen religion/deity/individual/Buddha/Guru etc. I find it hard to understand how there can be a discussion about this.
    Please take responsibility for your own choices in life and the lack of investigation.
    To mention the “Law” I find utterly disgraceful considering the military industrial complex is legal and here we are talking about grown ups who throw teacups at each other in full consent of the relationship and now want to spend taxpayers money to nanny, govern and judge their sexual abnormalities in a religious context. pathetic.
    Maybe the inner core of the Sangha surrounding SR who should have stressed these matters to newcomers but this is all water under the bridge and can maybe serve as an aspiration to protect future aspirants.

    Please also consider that, in the Light of Time, we are all here -hopefully- to attain full complete Enlightenment. This is a joyous occasion and an extremely rare and wonderful aspiration to my opinion. The wish to extend this aspiration to all sentient beings -but in this case mostly Europeans and Americans- is also a noble cause in which I fully rejoice. This, however, coming back to the Light of Time, does not immediately evaporate the habitual tendencies which have gripped the inhabitants of this Earth and others Realms.
    Its quite a Christian conception to think in extremes, -dualities- like abuser and victim. student and teachers.
    Although I perfectly understand the disenchantment with the tibetan fairytale, I feel personally that it is mostly a disenchantment with my own fantasyworld about heaven, Liberation, Enlightenment, The Guru etc.
    We are living in a world filled with suffering and would all like to believe the Disney version of Enlightenment but there is no escape to Self Responsibility, the law of cause and effect and Karma which can only be realized to be unfathomable by self inquiry, introspection, meditation, contemplation on the sutras and tantras, stabilizing the absorption of non-conceptual abiding etc. But my apologies to pointing out such basic ideas to senior adepts.

    Besides this, I am extraordinarily grateful to have had such fantastic good luck to be a slave of the wish, action, manifestation etc. to liberating all sentient beings. For this I do rely on the Gurus and would like to use this opportunity to express my gratitude to all the teachers who have been so generous with their knowledge, time and affection and hope that besides my endless hick-ups, they will continue to keep a loving eye on me.

    I have been in this ‘cult’ since i’m a teenager (in India, Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Switzerland, France, Spain, Germany etc. ) and would like to mention that all my gurus have treated me with utmost respect, affection and dignity, with a few exceptions for which I won’t ever consider filing a lawsuit since i have noticed this has graced me with tremendous observations about mind and especially about tendencies I believed I was completely devoid of. I very much doubt these tendencies would have emerged in such a conscious way for me to become able to observe and aspire to transform such latent instincts without the guru stirring up aspects of my being which I rather avoid.

    I won’t respond to any comments, since I wont be following this.

    feel free to write me an email @ lumbreloco@mail.com
    (but I have to borrow a laptop so please be patient with responses)

    I wish you all a house, food, clean air, warmth, clothes, family, nature, health, wisdom, peace, meditation, joy, bliss and enlightenment.

    Namo Guruye, Sarwa Mangalam

    B

  30. what you said above, @a Lifetime invested, resonates with me in many ways, even if i have never been a “real” student of SR, i can comprehend quite well, i think.
    regarding the part about “crushing the ego” taken from the article of dzongsar, i disagree with his interpretation, too.
    I think it’s rather about transforming the ego (in order to reach a more comprehensive state of mind), not destroying it.

    • veggiegirl

      Transforming the ego and being able to see and “go” beyond the limited perspective of one’s ego, that’s how I have understood the buddhist teachings, within my limited mind 😉
      A vajrayana teacher who does not “allow” their students to listen to other teachers seems to be caught in his own egocentric world to me, that’s why I would not want to have my access to wisdom and compassion limited by personal defaults, so to speak.

      Or is it a precondition and prerequisite in vajrayana (and consequently in order to follow SR) that only “one” single teacher must be followed unconditionally? I heard him recommend to not “research too much for other teachings” but to remain faithful and loyal to one of them, but of course I do not know if SR demanded that from his students in a kind of “unspoken” or hidden way. Seems like that, according to what I read.

      Would be interesting to learn more about that particular issue, also from the part of DJKR.

      • LJR

        Hi Veggiegirl,

        I’m a Rigpa student and would like to respond to you on this point.

        I can name over a dozen masters who I’ve received very profound dzogchen teachings from and I can name many more who I’ve received empowerments etc from too.

        How was this possible? It is because Sogyal Rinpoche is my root teacher.

        If my root teacher was one of these other masters, would I have got access to the same amount of teachers? Probably not.

        If Sogyal Rinpoche didn’t allow his students to listen to other masters, then how have I received so much?

        Of course, it isn’t recommended by any master for a student to shop around all the time. This is done at the beginning. Then one finds their place and makes a commitment. To keep jumping from one to another wouldn’t bring much benefit.

        When I think if what I received from all those master, and what I continue to receive, I feel so grateful to them, but then my gratitude always turns to Sogyal Rinpoche because without him I wouldn’t have had that.

        But the reason why I chose Rinpoche as my root master is because out of all the masters (and these masters are all the main teachers who come to Rigpa), he is the one who has brought the greatest benefit to me. He is the one who helped me finish all of my trauma and pain.

        So I’ve had all these teachings. It’s not like I’ve only met SR and not heard other masters! I’ve received so much and therefore have a lot to compare SR to in terms of dharma etc. So as you can see it is an informed choice that I made.

        I hope this helps and thanks for listening .

        • A Life Invested

          To LJR, it seems you are referring to the teachers invited to Lerab Ling when you say you have received teachings from so many masters because of Sogyal Rinpoche being your teacher. That’s wonderful for you that you have been able to do that.
          As for SR’s official stance on his students seeing another teacher of their own choosing, outside the context of Lerab Ling, that’s quite a different matter. We were told in no uncertain terms long ago that we must ask permission any time we wished to attend a teaching by another Dzogchen teacher. The first time I heard of this, a senior student was sent to chastise a group of us for attending a teaching in our local area. This came as quite a shock to all of us.
          Note as well how difficult it was and has always been for most students to contact Sogyal Rinpoche personally for permission to attend an event in a timely manner. Not very workable.

          • LJR

            Hi,

            But what else would you need? If one could actualise one-tenth of what one has received, that would be enough for this life! I don’t see why one would have to go further than what SR has offered his students? In my opinion, anymore would be overload.

            BTW when one becomes a dzogchen student of any master, it is the same principle – you don’t go around shopping. You make a commitment. Then that teacher may say, yes go and study with that teacher, maybe!

            Instead SR brings all the teachers to Rigpa. There is no other master like SR in terms of bringing other masters to the students. No need to go anywhere else! A kagyu master said this to me recently also.

            I know of many teachers who don’t bring any other masters to their centres and they teach their students solo.

        • Solenodon

          Ha, but while you got all those teachings/lectures/empowerments, the system of Rigpa and how they block students from any personal contact or interaction with those teachers made sure that you could never have any true master student relationship with any of them.
          Nor do you have a true master student relationship with Sogyal Rinpoche as there is zero personal correction plus the mandala system is not really adequate to replace the possibility of personal contact with one’s teacher.

          If I was to get a dharma lecture or empowerment etc from a dharma teacher, I’d prefer it not to be through Rigpa.

          • LJR

            Not true! I’ve seen so many masters teach and very few of them have interaction with the audience! Conversely I’ve seen with SR that there is a lot of interaction especially in a public retreat.

            I myself had a lot of interaction with SR. W
            Also when I needed to speak to him about my ‘stuff’, I was able to see him right away one to one and he listened to all I had to say and never judged me and gave me profound advice. So please don’t tell me I don’t have a true student master relationship with SR.

            When masters come to Rigpa, anyone who requests to see them are allowed. I know this because I have attended some masters in different centres. People come to get advise or just to make a connection.

            One of the masters I’ve been an attendant to is coming to visit me in my home country. No teaching in a centre. Just for me to bring him around and show him locations he’s interested in seeing. And Rigpa knows that because I told them. I’ve great devotion to this teacher, but my devotion is not scattered in any way.

            Many Rigpa students have such connections to different masters, but their heart connection is to SR.

            This is the truth and I don’t write these things to grind people down pretending that it’s true when it’s not. This is how I’ve experienced my root master and other masters in Rigpa.

            • Marge

              To LJR,

              What you said that you had witnessed is not the same experience as the many of us who were once with Rigpa.

              Moreover, the continuous stream of first-hand witness accounts of Sogyal’s sexual, physical, emotional, and financial abuse, provided no foundation for a healthy student and teacher relationship. That is why so many people have left Rigpa.

              Even if Rigpa does reform, which is currently looking highly unlikely, it is impossible to separate Rigpa from Sogyal, as it was all of the way back in 1979 that he himself chose the name “Rigpa” for his work. Therefore, after forty years of his work, everybody will always see Rigpa to be synonymous with his activities, even if he does retire.

              We all know that Rigpa is currently engaging in a massive damage limitation exercise, but no matter how much time and money they spend, it is like sticking a superficial bandage on a deep wound. The only way that Rigpa can truly heal from deep within, is for Sogyal to come forward, admit, and sincerely apologise for all of the abuse.

              • Solenodon

                I do believe that reform is definitely happening.

                After all, now is the first time in the more than 20 years I have spent in and around Rigpa, that people have laid the inner censor aside and dare to admit and discuss that there are things in Rigpa that are not in accordance with dharma and that they don’t agree with.

                And here I don’t mean so much the sexual, physical and emotional abuse accusations, but the basic culture within the organisation that members experience on a day to day level.

              • Adamo

                “I do believe that reform is definitely happening.

                After all, now is the first time in the more than 20 years I have spent in and around Rigpa, that people have laid the inner censor aside and dare to admit and discuss that there are things in Rigpa that are not in accordance with dharma and that they don’t agree with.

                And here I don’t mean so much the sexual, physical and emotional abuse accusations, but the basic culture within the organisation that members experience on a day to day level.”

                Is that happening due to efforts of the Rigpa topleaders, as something they want to achieve, or is just happening now ?

              • Solenodon

                As far as I can observe it is happening at the local level because individual members are starting to allow themselves to think for themselves and form their own opinion about things rather than being devoted=obedient followers of whatever is presented to them.

                I just had a very open and frank conversation about cult like tendencies we both noticed in Rigpa, that she admitted a few years ago she wouldn’t have dared to think about because she had felt it was against her devotion to the guru.

                The blind faith follwer, party line attitude was never explicitly asked for and nobody was in any way punished for “uncomfortable opinions”, but it was implicit, there was a culture that consisted of “good, devoted Rigpa students don’t have thoughts about dharma that disagree with dharma as presented by the instructoral system or what SR says in his lectures.
                Compliance with that was never enforced or even very directly requested. It was more of a through the back door, general culture thing, that was not even mainly propagated by SR but was in a large part caused by the group dynamic and certain people higher up in the hierarchy that propagated it.

                This person I talked with 10 days ago is a long term student, participant of the three year retreat and instructor. She is not contemplating to leave at all. And I think that there are more long term members who see it that way.

    • spyan ras gzigs

      You have not been a “real student”? Then you were a fake student of a fake master?
      That sounds creepy.

      • gendunblog

        sure, creepy, as the whole matter. the story of sogyals living and dying and his students’ success and suffering is creepy beyond words. someone along in here must be a creep or at least has been one long enough to set off an avalanche of bad actions, bad feelings and bad thoughts, like spreading poison and anyone who gets in touch will get their dose of it. the con artist obviously has many flying monkeys, so the drama will probably continue for a long period of time. it would have been much easier, healthier and less damaging to admit his mistakes and failure, and still – it’s not yet too late. but maybe it’s enjoyable to watch their students and ex-students mauling each other. i will not be watching. it’s too creepy.

    • Tenzin

      I disagree too with this “Crushing the ego”-claim – which seems to be also an excuse for rude behaviour.

      “Crushing the ego” is not really what we are doing in Buddhism. What we do is to understand the false projection of a non-existent, inherent existent self based on the existent “merely imputed” self (a self that is imputed on the basis of the aggregates).

      So, key point is to see (to develop the wisdom to see) the projection of an inherent existent self as a falsity and to thereby to overcome the clinging to the false view of an inherent existent self.

      For this process you need a healthy and strong self which many Westerners seem rather to lack. This self is also made stronger by the cultivation of love and compassion and concentration.

      Ringu Tulku Rinpoche stressed: “for the spiritual path we need a strong samsaric ego!”

      If you don’t have a strong samsaric ego, “crushing the ego” can be highly damaging for the individual who has a weak sense of self. If Tibetan Buddhist teachers don’t understand that, I fear, they are at risk to deeply harm people, and Western students are at risk to be deeply harmed by them.

      • Joanne Clark

        Thanks, Tenzin, that’s what I was trying to say in response to Cathy above. HHDalai Lama also has said that we need a “strong ego” or strong sense of self to navigate the bodhisattva path. If you look at true and enlightened spiritual leaders, they all have that dignity of a strong self-confidence– very different from the crushed ego that happens after abuse. This is a serious misconception being spread in my opinion because such a belief can break down the natural self-preservation necessary for survival– and it also breaks down our ability to critically discern. Very dangerous. And as you point out, Westerners in particular are vulnerable in this regard.

  31. gendunblog

    @ Tenzin

    great idea, your discussion panel!
    in that manner, the concerned students and teachers could talk in a more private (insider-)setting. no need to say that i would surely not be suitable as i am no longer attached to TB specifically, but i think for people who want to engage and commit to a dialogue and change it might be a good option.

  32. sherab tenzin

    All the articles are informative

  33. Rick New

    “Sogyal Rinpoche had the responsibility to tell his students that these are the highest and most important Vajrayana teachings, to explain the serious preparation and commitments required, and to say these instructions must not be passed on to others. These things absolutely had to be said as part of the required preparation and warnings.” DKR

    My experience was that Sogyal Rinpoche did exactly that, numerous times at numerous retreats. I don’t think we were able to hear it because of the repercussions of what it might mean for us to actually make a decision for ourselves. The sangha generally dismissed any efforts to talk about what he was saying and how we might consider this to make a real decision.

    The long term effects of not listening to one another are felt everywhere, not just in the Rigpa Organization. Deeply listening to one another is one of the greatest challenges we face. Communication is so difficult and complex. It requires an attentiveness that suspends our usual reactions, both gross and subtle. It means we change.

    Sooner or later, perhaps we are going to have to rise to this challenge and face one another. To do so, we may also need to stop treating the teacher as some kind of savior.

    As Chogyam Trungpa said, “The wrong way to take refuge involves seeking shelter – worshipping mountains, sun gods, moon gods, deities of any kind simply because they would seem to be greater than we. This kind of refuge taking is similar to the response of the little child who says, “If you beat me, I’ll tell my mommy,” thinking that his mother is a great, archetypically powerful person. … Taking refuge in a mother or father-principle is truly self-defeating; the refuge-seeker has no real basic strength at all, no true inspiration. He is constantly busy assessing greater and smaller powers. ”

    *********

    “And I have been inspired by the thinking of Marilyn Strathern and others, who tell me that it matters what stories tell stories, it matters what thoughts think thoughts, it matters what worlds world worlds.

    That we need to take seriously the acquisition of that kind of skill, emotional, intellectual, material skill, to destabilize our own stories, to retell them with other stories, and vice versa.

    A kind of serious denormalization of that which is normally held still, in order to do that which one thinks one is doing.

    It matters to destabilize worlds of thinking with other worlds of thinking.

    It matters to be less parochial.

    If ever there was a time, it is surely now, and I think all of us lack many of the skills.”

    Donna Haraway, Staying With the Trouble

  34. LJR

    I have been a student of SR since 2000. I was young when I joined Rigpa, 22 in fact.

    When I began, I did 2 years of establishing meditation and receiving teachings every week. I was very hungry for ngondro, but was held back by the instructors until 2 years had passed. Actually, I packed my bags and went to LL for a 17 day retreat on ngondro by SR in 2002.

    Then of course, like us all, enthusiastically I wanted to begin vajrayana practice. But I was told to practice my ngondro daily for a minimum of 2 years and to receive an empowerment before I could practice sadhana.

    This wasn’t just for me, but everyone. Of course you would see people getting handed or taking a sadhana book here and there in the centre, but that was just down to sloppiness from someone facilitating. It was not an invitation from SR to practice it. This was not SR’s wish.

    When it came my time to begin practicing sadhana. I knew what I was getting into. I heard it directly from SR in LL, and I jumped at the chance to receive an empowerment.

    Then I began studying under Khenchen Namdrol, through SR. I studied tantra with him. Did I now exactly what I was getting into? Yes I did. Why? Because of all of the education I got from SR and Rigpa instructors.

    Then came the 3year retreat. Did I know what I was getting into? Again, yes!

    I was brought up in a very deprived area and in a war zone. When I was a teenager, I was always in trouble because of a lot of different abuse in my childhood. I basically rebelled against everything and showed every aspect of society ‘how bad I was.’ This kind of behaviour went on until I met SR.

    Skip to the 3 year retreat…..I knew entering this retreat that I had to let go of the tendencies that I acted out all my life, because I was going to be doing that retreat with SR. Not just because it was SR, but because I would be in the presence of a master, I knew what the deal was, not because I’m very intelligent and could figure it all out by myself, but because that was instilled in me through the teachings in Rigpa. These teachings were mainly based upon Patrul Rinpoche’s ‘Words of my Perfect teacher’. And the ‘Zindri’ by Khenpo Ngakchung. It’s all in there and one needs nothing else in my opinion!

    I did the retreat and SR helped me let go of all my trauma and pain, and I have completely transformed my life.

    But the point is, I knew exactly what I was getting into because I received the education about that from SR. And I know many others who have had the same experience.

    I became an instructor in my centre after the 3year retreat and pass this specific knowledge onto others there too, just like it was given to me by SR and instructors. And it’s only given when those individuals are ready. For instance one wouldn’t be telling people who are new what the commitments it is to join the dzogchen mandala.

    So, I have samaya with Sogyal Rinpoche, and this connection is my most precious thing. And because SR is my teacher, I can count around 10 other teachers as being teacher too, without getting myself confused or wanting to go with such and such teacher. When I think of them, I feel such joy, but then my heart goes to SR with such deep gratitude as previously stated.

    Regarding what DJKR said to Bernie, maybe other students didn’t listen, maybe it went over their heads, maybe they forgot consciously or subconsciously, or maybe it’s like what Bernie said. But just as Rick New says above, SR did put this in place, and maybe it was down to some individuals in the sangha who didn’t hear it in the ways I suggested above.

    For a master to agree with someone that there may have been no vajrayana teachings given and therefore no samaya, but to be known to have said many times that Rigpa is one of the most important vehicles in the West for vajrayana and dzogchen, may not make sense. But actually it does, not in the sense of it making sense, but because DJKR’s teaching style is provocative and we won’t pin his words down or get him taking sides. And as he said he’ll probably end up upsetting both camps!

    I do know that I have samaya with SR as I’ve received so much from him including a lot of vajrayana teachings before the 3year retreat, during it and after it.

    Thanks for listening,

    I’ll leave off looking and posting on these websites after this comment.

    Best wishes,

    LJR

    • Marge

      To LJR,

      During your time at Rigpa, presumably, like most of us, you heard about the continuous stream of first-hand witness accounts of Sogyal’s sexual, physical, emotional, and financial abuse, and the cover-up by Rigpa’s management.

      I also take it that you would agree that Vajrayana is based upon a very strong foundation of a very healthy student and teacher relationship.

      Therefore, how did you combine the two?

      Also, how did you feel when His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the most respected teacher, publically spoke out against Sogyal, saying that he is disgraced?

      Myself, and nearly everybody else, have taken His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s advice, and out of compassion we too have spoken out against abuse. So why is it that Dzongsar has remained silent?

      Do you think that Dzongsar’s silence is the reason (or agreement) why Rigpa want Dzongsar to be its advisor to its governing board, which consists of a small group of Sogyal’s closest supporters?

      LJR, this is not about taking sides, or even about Buddhism. This is about basic human values. Ignoring, covering up, or defending abuse is highly irresponsible.

    • notsohopeful

      LJR, I’m happy for you, that you feel that everything was done properly.

      I’m also happy that you didn’t ‘catch his eye’, that you weren’t dragged into the inner circle after six months of stream classes and a a brief introduction to the ngondro (my experience).

      Can you imagine how different you’d be feeling now if you’d experienced what the victims of sl did?

      Does everyone who is physically and emotionally abusive, abuse everyone that they meet? No

      Does every rapist, rape everyone that they meet? No

      Does every lier, lie to everyone they meet? No

      Did you know that Ted Bundy’s victims thought he was handsome and charismatic?

      Do you recall a man named Adolf Hitler who mesmerized an entire country, got them to join in or at the very least to look the other way when truly evil acts were happening right under their noses?

      Stop and think, is your experience the only valid one? Does your experience disqualify the lived experience of those of us who sl used and abused, probably right under your nose as you and the rest of the true believers looked the other way.

      THIS is why the ll community is under attack, they have become a cult. Anyone who can clap after a revered teacher says that those who gave voice to the truth are possessed by demons has completely lost touch with cause and effect, has absolutely no understanding of emptiness, don’t actually believe or understand the four pillars which means, according to djkr aren’t even Buddhist.

      Do you in your defense of sl really believe that it’s OK for a teacher to kill a student if it’s for their own good? (ot at the Paris center)

      Has your happy experience let you sink to such a level of depravity that you have no regard for the suffering of others?

    • Solenodon

      SR gives dzogchen introduction at public events to random people who don’t go through the process you describe here.

      In case someone “gets it” at those occasion, he or she has a samaya connnection with him without any education what samaya responsiblities that connection comes with.

      Plus, the process through the instructors and the system to graduate to more advanced practices, as far as I see it nobody among those instructors is qualified to determine if someone is ready to practice ngondro or sadhana or receive dzogchen teachings. Because that can only be determined by a realized person assessing the candidate, not by a rigpa instructor. While this system currently in existence is definitely better than nothing, it’s not sufficient.

      I also know of a case where the head of the German office who had not been in Rigpa very long, had not done any qualifying practices and on a personal level was just a pain in the ass for the people working for Rigpa (I wittnessed a screaming rage attack against a totally innocent person working at the office, she totally ticked out and claimed she had authority directly from SR and was only responsible to him) was admitted to the dzogchen mandala because she knew some of the responsible people and they did her a favour. That must have been around 2004. ‘Okay, that was 15 years ago, since then they have apparently made some effort to close those holes.

      I am slightly allergic to teachers creating samaya connections with random people who happen to be there and open enough, without preparing them for it. Because it happened to me more than 20 years ago (not SR or any of the Rigpa affiliated teachers, mind you) and it ended up in a not very nice experience that did me significant harm on a psychological level.

    • Tenzin

      Hi LJR,
      There is no contradiction in people benefiting from a person and people been harmed by the same person. Neither of these experiences, good or bad, can invalidate the other. What ever one experiences is the result of a complex dependent arising.

      So, if you made only good experiences, wonderful. But please avoid to use these as as a means to deny the harmful experiences of some of your vajra brothers and sisters. Rather, as you are happy with others listening to, respecting your good experiences, please listen also to those and respect those who have made bad experiences.

      Why did they make bad experiences? Why were the harmed? Why were they and why did they allow to be abused?

      The answer can be won by using the reason and understanding of dependent arising.

      In that context, I think, it’s important to see the contributing factors or causes on the side of the guru, the survivor of abuse or harm and the environment. If no contribution factor is denied a good understanding can arise why abuse happened. Once this understanding is attained, healing is far easier, things will settle, and relax. However, to block the thinking about the possible contributing factors for abuse at the side of the guru and the support of it by the environment won’t lead to a holistic or complete understanding of the situation and neither liberating understanding nor healing can properly arise.

      This is my view on the whole – and this is also my own experience with abuse (been abused by two narcissistic Buddhist teachers).

    • LJR – I hear that you felt well prepared for Dzogchen and Vajrayana. Keep in mind, however, that it was a different time when Bernie began in Rigpa in the eighties. There were no courses. There wasn’t a progressive education program in place. Many of us received Dzogchen teachings and the introduction to the nature of mind on our first retreat or soon thereafter without any specific preparation or warnings.

  35. Alan

    After reflecting on this deeply, I came to the conclusion that there are two main barriers to myself and probably other Western students understanding and making sense of what has happened within the Rigpa Sangha. The first is the Tibetan culture, and navigating through how it operates, cultural values, norms and how it fits into the practise for us Westerners. I have learnt to basically let most of it go and just focus on the dharma. The second is understanding the dharma, which is a huge learning curve in and of itself. I came in blind and confused, and really it took me ages to understand the framework and meaning and what I was participating in, and my only guide was that it felt authentic, rich, profound and satisfying. I connected with Sogyal Rinpoche and I never heard or saw anything that would be considered confronting to a Western mind, and so in other words, on face value, there was no moral or ethical conflict. What I did see was an incredible effort to spread the dharma, through new centres, activities and dharma material, I have benefited from over 20 years of retreats and being able to stay at Blueys in NSW Australia. I have been exposed to so much that it will take me several lifetimes to apply the wisdom tools to transform my mind, and all this came from my connection to Sogyal Rinpoche and the Rigpa sangha. I dont want people to think this is a promotion or defence of Sogyal Rinpoche, I am simply saying I personally dont know or feel qualifed to judge this situation with any authority. So then you are probably asking, why post then? As Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche says, think of the bigger picture here. It doesnt change the truth of imperanance, it doesnt change the truth of shunyata, it doesnt change the truth of cause and effect. We are taught in Vajrayana that everything is workable, nothing is fixed, karma will play out and our wise focus should be on working for enlightenment for the sake of others, and so has any of that changed? Has Sogyal Rinpoche failed or has he just stumbled, is Rigpa permantly affected or is this just another event of the ebb and flow of transferring the dharma to the West for the benefit of countless beings? I 100% agree we must deal with any issues and resolve them as responsible dharma practitioners, but please, keep sight of the bigger picture, everything is workable.

  36. Tahlia Newland

    I don’t think whether or not we were suitably prepared is the actual issue here, because some were and some weren’t, and even if we were all prepared ‘properly’ and ‘knew what we were getting into’, did anyone actually think they were going to be regularly beaten or asked to take a photo of their genitals for his photomontage or give S a blow job and so on? If they did and they agreed to that package deal then their sanity would be questionable. No. The issue is the behaviour of the teacher and that some think that behaviour is perfectly acceptable because its vajrayana.

    It seems to me that the reason why Sogyal thought it was okay to behave that way and why some think there is nothing wrong with that behavour is that they have a nihilistic view of the nature of reality, one that denies dependent arising. This misunderstanding is the core issue; it’s a dangerous one, and it’s an incorrect view.

    This quote from the book “Crystal Clear” by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche.p 109 makes the issue very clear.

    “What takes places in this unfolding of experience is not the ultimate truth; it only seemingly occurs. We call it relative or superficial reality because once you look into it, you see that no real thing can be identified or pinpointed. Just because mind, in its nature, is non-arising and empty, we cannot pretend that nothing exists, that there is no good and evil, no pleasure and pain, etc.

    As I explained earlier each thing is dependent upon another and this also goes for good and evil—they do have do consequences. Our actions do result in benefit or harm, happiness or suffering; this is undeniable. In fact, the more the experience of our true nature deepens, the more we realise that we should be ever more careful in our behaviour, attitudes and motivation. We will then develop even more compassionate and be kinder to others and more diligent.”

    Whether or not you have agreed with full knowledge to enter into a vajrayana relationship with a teacher does not change this. Even if your supposedly ‘pure’ perception stops you from seeing abuse as abuse, bruises from beatings are still bruises, still tender, the bloody cut on your scalp from a where a cup was smashed over it is still a cut, the blood is still sticky and warm, the injury still painful, trauma is still trauma, and harm has still occured. Saying they have no inherent reality does not change that – re-read the above if you don’t get it.

    Regardless of the issue of adequate preparation, only if such injuries spontaneously and immediately healed (which they did not) and left no scars either emotional or physical, would they be anything other than assault and spiritual abuse. And to place lamas automatically by their place as Vajrayana teachers on the same level as Naropa is stupid and dangerous. One of the marks of a cult is where abuse is enshrined in belief such that it is considered normal and acceptable, and that is Rigpa. DZK needs to be careful that he doesn’t paint all of Vajrayana with the same brush.

  37. Rick New

    For those that might find relevance.

    “Touch Me Not”

  38. Anna Morgan

    I would like to say something and make a point, which I have not yet seen it said anywhere else, and I think it needs to be said (and I apologise I can’t say it in fewer words):
    that:

    In all of this disaster and throughout all the deep trauma which we have all been going through over all this, I think it would be very good for all of us, including the wounded ones, and also maybe a few possibly cynical ones, to remember that the students who are remaining strongly glued to Sogyal Rinpoche are very valid, very sincere, and strong dharma practitioners, well meaning and well motivated folk – and they are also going through plenty of trauma and difficulties as a result of all this.

    And whatever they have ‘seen’ or ‘not seen,’ whatever they have or have not said, or ‘should’ have spoken or not spoken up about, and whatever the ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ of their choice to stick with Sogyal Rinpoche, they have just as much right as all of us to follow the spiritual path that THEY consider both correct and wonderful for them..

    .. and they need, and they want, good teachers.

    They very much do, like most of us (though as an aside I have to acknowledge that some people on various forums seem to be querying the need for a teacher at all.)

    And especially in the Vajrayana, where so much importance is placed on the master/s, those remainers are definitely not in a position to ‘go it alone.’

    And why shouldn’t they have brilliant and suitable teachers? Why shouldn’t all of us have this?

    But if they cannot feel easy with HHDL or Mingyur Rinpoche or various others because those lamas have made statements that those ‘loyal’ students do not agree with, then what on earth are those students going to do??

    Who else can they accept as teachers apart from their beloved Sogyal Rinpoche?

    Should they be limited to ONLY Sogyal Rinpoche, and OT Rinpoche, and Khenpo Namdrol, and a very few others – including some with perhaps a very fundamentalist outlook?? –

    Or would it maybe be better if a master and great, inspiring teacher – like Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche – can take them under his wing, and genuinely, sincerely, and competently offer them what they need and want on their spiritual path? A master who can clearly (many of us think) genuinely see many many sides and differing views simultaneously?

    If we accept that those ‘remainers’ have as much right as the rest of us to progress on the spiritual path – and obviously we will all accept that, on an intellectual level or when coming from a place of compassion, healing and love (unless we have an over-riding malice and revenge-seeking attitude in our hearts,) then who better to take on the job of guiding Rigpa Mark 2 onward and upward and compassionately and wisely take the reins to a large extent?

    It HAS to be someone wholehearted and completely deeply committed to the ‘fundamentalist’ views (I say that word sincerely here, not as a hidden insult) of the remainers. Someone who is sincere. Or, obviously, the remainers could not accept that person.

    And it looks to me, and doubtless to many of us, that DJKR exactly fits that description..

    And at the same time he has pointed out some other truths too, which I’m sure many remainers will have to grapple with themselves – for example, his statement that SR didn’t prepare his students enough, and in his original long post he strongly queried how qualified SR is in the first place.

    So he is someone that most of us can take very seriously. Personally I was very happy with his latest public missive (the reply to Bernie Schreck’s letter) which I found reassuringly inclusive and genuinely friendly.

    I say: Give him a chance. A huge, serious, proper, chance. And give Rigpa Mark 2, with him (along with others) guiding their board a chance.

    These things take time.
    And let’s give our dharma brothers and sisters, including the ones we’ve got estranged from, a chance. Our fellow practitioners. We have been family.

    I personally think that if anyone can really begin the deep healing process for both individuals and the sangha/s, there is no one better qualified than DJKR.

    Let’s all try to drop our tendency to judgements, or just put them on the back burner for a while – and – give him a chance.

    • Rick New

      Thank you!

      “These things take time.
      And let’s give our dharma brothers and sisters, including the ones we’ve got estranged from, a chance. Our fellow practitioners. We have been family.”

      • Le Tigre

        Whilst I concur that compassion and understanding of the needs of ‘remainers’ is necessary and an admirable sentiment, given the huge undermining of trust that has occurred, the teaching on checking out the potential guru is more pertinent than ever and mustn’t be dismissed as being merely judgemental.

        DKR has engaged in sexual relations with a number of his students and there are some highly insensitive and innapropriate social media appearances which need to be taken into account. I won’t go on as others have already set out relevant concerns and questions for DKR.

        Caution and thorough investigation would be wise here with the aim of preventing further harm. Do not jump into the tiger’s mouth etc

        In addition, this uncovering is bringing to light a plethora of questions regarding the transmission of Tib Buddhism in the West and is stimulating much needed and frankly overdue discussion. An amazing opportunity not to be suppressed, dismissed and glossed over.

        • Rick New

          “An amazing opportunity not to be suppressed, dismissed and glossed over.”

          Yes, thank you!

          And perhaps if we can say “and”, “me too”, “yes”, “also”, “including”, etc. to one another, rather than cancelling out any point of view, this opportunity might be more wholly entered into?

          Of course, this inclusion includes the cancelling out, but maybe we can still note the effects/affects of this kind of movement and see it in the light of contributing to our current situation?

    • Marge

      To Anna Morgan,

      Let us not forget that in August last year, when the eight-signatory letter spread like wildfire, Dzongsar did not state whether or not he believed that Sogyal had committed sex abuse, but he did shockingly state, “On balance, I would argue that Sogyal Rinpoche has contributed far more benefit to this world and Buddhadharma than harm.”

      It is absolutely incumbent upon any Buddhist teacher to be responsible for a safe environment for students to study. However, I believe that Dzongsar is still not showing consideration towards Sogyal’s sexually abused victims, some of whom are young women, who are emotionally and physically scarred, and who are still having to receive therapy.

      Also, let us not forget that Dzongsar posted that most shocking “Sex Contract” on his Facebook page the other month, deliberately coinciding it with the media storm surrounding Sogyal and Rigpa, attempting to make light of the whole situation. If you didn’t see it, it was the most inappropriate stunt in the form of a legal “Sex Contract” that listed numerous things that any rinpoche and student could sign mutual consent for, such as: the student would allow the rinpoche to give them anal sex, vaginal sex, and battery, and the student would also accept being urinated and defacated upon. Moreover, it also stated that if the student got pregnant by the rinpoche, she would have an abortion. This “Sex Contract” deeply upset many people, particularly as Dzongsar posted it on his public Facebook page where many young Buddhists saw it, some of whom were minors. As a result of the uproar, the post was eventually taken down. However, despite receiving many complaints, Dzongsar failed to issue an apology to the many people who were not only insulted during such a sensitive time, but who were deeply and justifiably concerned about the damage that it did to the image of Buddhism.

      After all of this, and his most recent letter, it is no surprise that Rigpa want Dzongsar to be its advisor to its governing board, which consists of a small group of Sogyal’s closest supporters.

      Well Anna, each to their own, but many of us would rather listen to Holiness the Dalai Lama and Mingyur Rinpoche’s compassionate wisdom. It’s a great shame that they’re not Rigpa’s new advisors. I wonder why Dzongsar was chosen? Let me tell you why I believe he was:

      I have been around Tibetan Buddhism since the 1960’s, and Dzongsar is undoubtedly the most opinionated teacher that I have ever met, who often ridicules things that he knows very little about. Therefore, if Dzongsar is so opinionated about things that he knows very little about, why does he choose to remain silent about something that he knows so much about. He’s known for years about Sogyal’s sex abuse and Rigpa’s coverup. He has been informed numerous times!

      It is Dzongsar’s silence that has made him the advisor to Rigpa’s governing board, which consists of a small group of Sogyal’s closest supporters. Sogyal and Dzongsar are closer than what most people think!

      Anna, this is not about taking sides, and it is not even about Buddhism. This is about basic human values. Ignoring, covering up, or defending sex abuse is highly irresponsible.

    • Anna Morgan

      Actually I now regret having posted that, because it wrongly suggested that Rigpa students would find it hard to find open-minded high calibre teachers. That is NOT what I meant at all. There will continue to be plenty of great teachers in Rigpa, I am sure. Plenty. I don’t mean to insult Rigpa (or any of the students) in that regard! I was referring to the role of main guides of the vision board, and ‘main/regular’ teachers. Apologies that my post was somehow extremely misleading and unclear about that. I want to delete the post and start again but I can’t work out how to. Will try again tomorrow. Got to go now.

  39. Anna Morgan

    Dear Marge, and the many others who will be agreeing with you:

    Thanks for your comments which I did find illuminating..

    Firstly, just to hopefully clear up a separate misunderstanding:
    In my post, I was unclear and misleading about the sort of teachers I was talking about, and I have separately explained that/apologised, because I didn’t mean to imply that Rigpa would have difficulty finding teachers etc.

    Secondly, my main point was the point that you have disagreed with, i.e. that I think DJKR is a good choice from the point of view of the hard liner remainers, to become a main teacher/guide for them because they will take him seriously, and that I believe they are entitled to a main teacher/guide that they are happy with.

    Actually, like you, I too would have hugely preferred it if Mingyur Rinpoche had become the/a main advisor/guide to the vision board. And I too think the whole vision board is a shame and a huge pity as, Yes, it’s the same old people who must have known what was going on. I really don’t like what I can see of the ‘new’ set-up at all. However, it is going ahead and it looks like there’s nothing you or I can do about it. And most of those who have moved on are not directly affected by the new set-up.
    The ones who are mainly affected by the new set-up are the students still remaining, including serious, sincere “fundamentalist’ students probably feeling left high and dry and feeling criticised and defensive for their take on things.

    And so, that is the reality, whether we like it or not.

    My point is simply that the more hardline students who are remaining will be happy with DJKR, whereas they would not be happy with Mingyur Rinpoche or indeed HHDL. They will feel safe with him as some of his statements re samaya beliefs etc chime with their beliefs.

    They are not my beliefs, or yours, and it seems that many ‘leavers’ used to have beliefs around samaya that they don’t hold any more, due to the recent debate including MR and HHDL and others.

    But obviously many of the ones remaining do have some controversial beliefs including about samaya and obedience etc.

    And surely they are entitled to persue their paths, as long as they don’t hurt anybody, including a suitable teacher they get on with? Even if it seems mad to some of us.

    I doubt there could be abuse in the future in Rigpa, with the new safeguards

    And despite events in the past, the future is another story and I will expect Rigpa Mark 2 to be as safe as any other religious organisation with the new full safeguards/procedures in place – even safer in fact, as the world will be watching now.

    You seem to disagree, and have negative thoughts concerning DJKR, which you supply some reasons for and which you and others believe. In the end, time will tell. I don’t know what he has or hasn’t done in his own organisation. But I don’t believe everything I hear anyway, and things get twisted. I did see the Sex Contract. It was a joke in poor taste considering the climate, yes. But not a big deal, and he did take it down, because many people, understandably, complained. You imply that he posted it with the intent to make light of the issues. That is just one interpretation but not necessarily the reality.

    And he has said clearly that there were a lot of things wrong.

    My own opinion, which is really all I can say, is that at the end of the day, there are various legal actions in progress now, and the truth will come out or not come out now irrespective of who is on/advising the vision board.

    But I over simplified, and things are complicated and far from ideal, as you rightly pointed out.

    Thank goodness things have come out into the open, and are still coming out. And healing is beginning for those who need it. And I do trust in karma to a large extent, that things will come right in the end.

    I will have to leave it there. The main point I was making, that hard-line Rigpa students look to be getting a teacher/guide they can get on with, which is what they need, has been lost amongst the mess and huge can of worms that always comes up when discussing the whole disaster. I should have realised. .

    Thanks for your time. All good wishes..

    • Bill

      Anna, you mention “new full safeguards/procedures in place .” I am still a member of Rigpa and think I receive all relevant mailings. I am unaware of these safeguards. I understand that a “code of ethics” will be submitted to the sangha for discussion, promised at the end of February. But have yet to receive a copy. Can you elaborate on these new full safeguards/procedures you say are in place? Has DJK, OT, Khenpo Namdrol and Lama Sogyal agreed to such procedures????

    • Marge

      To Anna Morgan,

      Sogyal has committed sex abuse crimes that are punishable by European courts of law. The remaining senior management at Rigpa knows this, and they are currently engaging in a massive damage limitation exercise.

      It is impossible to separate Rigpa from Sogyal, as it was all of the way back in 1979 that he himself chose the name “Rigpa” for his work. Therefore, after forty years of his work, everybody will always see Rigpa to be synonymous with his activities, even if he does retire.

      For any remaining students at Rigpa to condone Sogyal’s actions, by ignoring or defending them, is highly irresponsible. Moreover, pretending that sex abuse isn’t sex abuse is extremely dangerous. What is even worse is calling it some kind of “fundamentalist Buddhism.” There is absolutely nothing in Buddhism that supports
      sex abuse. For anybody to suggest that there is, has grossly perverted and distorted the teachings on samaya.

      Do not be naive. Yes, Dzongsar had to say something, as his allegiance to Sogyal would have been too obvious if he didn’t. But what Dzongsar said was so soft and ambiguous that it still defends Sogyal.

      Rigpa does not represent the true face of Tibetan Buddhism. There are so many pure and wonderful teachers and lineages out there who have operated for centuries, way before Rigpa came along. To be a successful practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism, one does do not have to remain with Rigpa.

      • Solenodon

        Nope, he has not done anything sexually that goes against any laws. He coerced women to have sex with him, using emotional pressure and false promises. While that’s morally reprehensible and totally unacceptable in a man of religion (of any kind), it’s not punishable by law.
        If being a selfish ass and talking gullible women into sex was punishable by law, the courts would be flooded with dissatisfied ex partners who experienced exactly this in their totally worldly relationship.

        • notsohopeful

          Some of the victims have been underage which equals statutory rape.

          Some have been salaried staff who felt like they couldn’t say no ala Harvey Weinstein.

          He was physically and emotionally abusive to hundreds of people, far more than those who he had sex with, many rigpa employees, which is also against the law. In the 21 st century we’re no longer allowed to beat the help.

          He was the international director of rigpa fellowship, he threatened people’s jobs if they didn’t cooperate and when they complained, that is against the law full stop.

        • Marge

          To Solenodon,

          It’s not just about Sogyal’s sex abuse. It’s also about his physical abuse resulting in injury, exploitation, psychological abuse, and appropriation of dana (donations) for his own wealth.

          However, physical and sex abuse (including sexual harrasment and sexual coercion), particulalry by somebody in a position of religious influence and power, are punishable crimes under European law.

          Also let us not forget that in November 1994 an American woman filed a $10m lawsuit against Sogyal, charging him with sexual, mental and physical abuse. The case was dealt with out of court and she signed a non-disclosure agreement in return for a cash settlement.

          • Solenodon

            There is no European law concerning sexual abuse. Each country in Europe has it’s own laws considering what is punishable sexual misconduct.

            And here in Germany there is no law concerning clergymen and having sex with students/followers. There are laws concerning psychotherapists, teachers and physicians, and sexual relationships with clients/students/patients, but not clergy.

            • Marge

              To Solenodon,

              Sogyal has committed physical and sex abuse crimes that are punishable in European courts of law. Period.

              I live in London, UK. What he did is punishable in the UK and in other European countries.

              Sogyal’s physical and sex abuse (including sexual harrasment and sexual coercion), are indeed punishable crimes in European courts of law. Even more so due to the fact that he was in a position of religious influence and authority.

    • Catlover

      @Anna,

      No need to apologize. I knew exactly what you meant about teachers at Rigpa in your first post, and in your subsequent posts as well. You made it all very clear, at least to me anyway. I realize you were not saying that Rigpa wouldn’t be able to find good teachers, and that you were only talking about who would be the new spiritual director, or “regular” teacher who would always be hanging around to guide them, etc. You seem to be coming from a very warmhearted compassionate place, and I appreciate that. I don’t wish to criticize your post(s) because I feel they were very sincere, and you are simply stating your belief that DKR would be the kind of ‘regular” teacher that some people in Rigpa would need, because his beliefs are more in harmony with what these particular students already believe. I totally get where you are coming from on this and I see your point….EXCEPT that I feel these students will be putting themselves into a vulnerable position with DKR, who I believe is not much better than Sogyal himself. I get a bad feeling about DKR, from things he has said, not said, and from his general energy as well, and my concern is that these people will be going from one abusive relationship into another. That is what concerns me the most. If DKR would truly take these students “under his wing” (as you said), and guide them on the path in a safe environment, where they would have some room to heal from their trauma with Sogyal, then I would say it is a great and wonderful thing that they could have a teacher who suits them and their beliefs. However, I just see it as going from one bad “marriage” to another. I don’t see anything good in having DKR as a replacement for Sogyal. I see it as more of the same old, same old, and in fact it might even be worse in some ways. DKR already warns people that he is selfish and ambitious, and of course nobody believes him because they think he is just kidding, or he’s just being a modest bodhisattva. But I believe him, and I think he is 100% serious when he gives people these warnings about his character. In my opinion, he is not a good teacher for people who have just come out of an abusive, traumatic relationship with another teacher who abused them. People who have been abused need a safe teacher to study with, if only until they can get over their trauma. DKR is anything but a “safe” teacher. I think he thinks that if he warns people that he is of bad character, he has done his duty to “prepare” his students, but I think he knows deep down that his students will worship him and think he is a Buddha and they will do anything he says. Since he already admits what kind of man he really is, this does not bode well for his students.

  40. Joanne Clark

    In the 3 hour meeting between DJKR and Rigpa students and management, someone asked Rinpoche this question: “What the Dalai Lama and Mingyur Rinpoche are saying and what you and Orgyen Topgyal Rinpoche and Khenpo Namdrohl are saying are two different things. Can you please clarify?”

    He didn’t seem to know anything about Mingyur Rinpoche’s advice to students, but his essential message in reply was that the advice from His Holiness was “mis-information” or a “mis-translation.”

    Here is the end of his lengthy response to the question:

    “And you know, I’m sorry, you know I can’t, you can’t change that [rules of samaya]. People seem to think that some lamas can change– because [mocking voice] now the time is modern and, you know, you can’t because you know what? If you ask a lama to change that rule, you are making him into a cult leader. Can you see the logic? Because a cult leader doesn’t do this– they don’t go by the book. They do whatever they want. OK, what do people want to hear? Ahhh. That’s what people want to hear. Then they make up. You can’t do that. You know, as I said right at the beginning, I’m not an enlightened being, I’m a sentient being. I have desire, I have anger, I have ambition. I have– what do you call it? agendas. I’m very ambitious. And in this day and age, if I follow my ambition, I should say, oh yeah yeah yeah, whatever people want to hear. I make it up. Mindfulness–breathe out–breathe in. You know and then, after a week later you read maybe a magazine and see what is the current trend, current fashion, and then change the meditation method a little bit. I would make millions .But if you want to follow by the book, it’s not possible.

    “So what I’m saying is– there must be a misinformation or mis-translation.”

    And my question to Rinpoche– does he know that there is video footage of His Holiness speaking in English?

    • Jan de Vries

      @But if You want to follow by the book , it is not possible….
      DJKR is not telling the truth here and contradicts his own words.
      He has written before that only a lama can change the practice and not a lay practitioner. So fake news and brainwashing!

      • Joanne Clark

        Yes, Jan, I find this situation very disappointing and all very duplicitous. After years of using HH Dalai Lama’s good name to undermine critics, now Rigpa has dropped him like a puppet they don’t need anymore. What kind of example is that?

        And SL claimed that the Dalai Lama is “one of his principal teachers” and a “shining light in the world,” etc. But it appears that neither he nor Rigpa management have sought his guidance or leadership in their darkest hour. But then in sails DKJR, talking about the importance of uncompromising guru devotion and he’s the one Rigpa will use to steer their way forward. More hypocrisy.

        Here is the full response from DJKR:

        Question: What the Dalai Lama and Mingyur Rinpoche are saying and what you and Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche and Khenpo Namdrol Rinpoche are saying are two different things. Can you please clarify?

        Dzongsar Jamyang Kyentse Rinpoche: Very good. Orgyen Rinpoche is there also? Yeah, OK. [laughter] How do I begin? First, I want to say this. I think there’s a lot lost in translation, misinterpretation, editing, remember I said? Editing, sound effect, I feel there’s a lot.

        From my side, I have never said that the moment you walk into a Tibetan Vajrayana temple, you bump into a guru and then you end up receiving whatever teaching and then you do not analyze, don’t criticize. I never said this. Never. You have to analyze. Remember, this is the subject that I’ve been repeating so much today. You have to analyze, you have to really prepare. Jingme Lingpa said this also. You know, the classic tantra talks about analyzing the guru and student twelve years. You don’t have twelve years because you don’t even have time for nineteen pages. But at the least you should analyze. Really. From both sides, not only from one side. But once you consciously decide to take somebody as your tantric master—and please, again I repeat tantric master, from whom you receive a complete initiation, then this is the path you have chosen. It’s like this: you want to be an ordinary soldier, then be ordinary soldier. You want to be—what?—navy seal?—well then, that’s your choice. You want to be, you know, special, then you choose this path. But you have to decide this first.

        I mean there are, there is, one mention, I have to clarify—if you choose this tantric master, thoroughly examin[e], everything, but you ended up bumping, you realize that this man is not a good man, he’s a lunatic, he’s crazy, he’s harming everyone, then what do you do? Try your best to have the pure perception but if it is not working, quietly distant yourself. There is a mention like that in the Karma Chagme teachings and stuff like that—quietly—you don’t want to make a big mess. And then do the Tsok offerings and so on and so forth.

        But other than that, you cannot. This is the path you have chosen. Now I think the question is about what His Holiness the Dalai Lama said. [Questioner adds: “And Mingyur Rinpoche”]

        OK . Mingyur Rinpoche is one—I don’t know—I’m a little bit puzzled with this one because HH Dalai Lama not once, not twice, [but] many times he has said—and it’s even written—and it’s made into books—I don’t know whether you have read it—when he gave teaching, he said general teachings you know, talk, philosophical talks is OK, everybody can listen. But anyone who is about to receive a vow, he said this—‘vow’—and especially Vajrayana initiation from him and if they are practicing this protector—do you remember—any one of you remember? This [unintelligible] there was a little bit of issue a few years ago? Anyone who practices this protector he requested them to leave.

        Why does he have to do that? If you keep on receiving the initiation, keep on scrutinizing the guru, keep on criticizing the guru, keep on having the pure/impure perception whenever you want or whenever you can or whenever you need it—then no need to go through this analysis. Not only that, if you can still have that kind of analysis—and what, impure perception—then why does the tantra have to emphasize on analyzing the guru in the beginning? Do you understand what I mean? Why do you have to analyze first? I mean they are talking about twelve years of analysis. Skip that—because you can still analyze later. You know what I mean?

        And then I will tell you something which is sort of puzzling for me. As I said, guru devotion, pure perception is a practice that you have to choose, you choose, consciously, because you are supposed to choose this. I know many people may have not. But that’s how the tantric, this is why I wanted to explain—the tantric—according to the tantric rule, this is the path. You choose and then you practice that pure perception—no matter what happens you try to see this is your projection, this and everything is pure, so on and so forth. There’s a lot of instructions.

        OK, let’s say you are not a Vajrayana practitioner. Let’s say you are a Mahayana practitioner. Let’s say Vajrayana is too strange—cultish, you know, feudalist. Let’s forget Vajrayana. Let’s practice Mahayana, OK, so you have become a Mahayana practitioner, what is the essence of the Mahayana practice? Compassion, isn’t it? And you are supposed to have compassion to all sentient beings unconditionally. You can’t say, Oh I will have compassion towards some Africans in Rowanda, but not Donald Trump. You can’t. That is the path you have chosen. And you can’t also choose I will have compassion towards this man when as long as he behaves. You are supposed to have compassion no matter what he does. Is he a good boy? Have compassion. Bad boy? Compassion. Tail growing suddenly? Compassion. Horn growing suddenly? Compassion. This is the path you have chosen. It is the—it is—that’s how it is!

        And you know, I’m sorry, you know I can’t, you know, you can’t change that. People seem to think that some lamas can change this– because now the time is modern, you know. You can’t because you know what? If you ask a lama to change that rule, you are making him into a cult leader. Can you see the logic? Because a cult leader does this– they don’t go by the book. They do whatever they want. OK, what do people want to hear? Ahhh. That’s what people want to hear. Then they make it up. You can’t do that. You know, as I said right at the beginning, I’m not an enlightened being, I’m a sentient being. I have desire, I have anger, I have ambition. I have– what do you call it? agendas. I’m very, you know, like, ambitious. And in this day and age, if I follow my ambition, I should be saying, oh yeah yeah yeah, whatever people want to hear. I make it up. Mindfulness–breathe out–breathe in. You know and then, after a week later you read maybe a magazine and see what is the current trend, current fashion, and then change the meditation method a little bit. I can make millions .But if you want to really follow by the book, it’s not possible.

        “So what I’m saying is– there must be a missed information or mis-translation.” [Or he could have meant “mis-information”, a little unclear.]

        • Jan de Vries

          The one who is framing his audience and editing even the words of the Dalai Lama and Mingyur Rinpoche is DJKR himself. Amazing he treates is audience in this way. I had a much higher easteem od f him but , he becomes more and more a knitwit philosopher using simple tricks.

          • Solenodon

            Though he is right on the subject of samaya. Anyone who got either tantric initiation from SR or introduction into the nature of mind and it succeeded, the person has samaya with SR and SR has samaya with that person.

            He is capable to give these transmissions so he can get people into a samaya connection with him. A teacher doesn’t need to be fully enlightened to do that.

            Samaya is a bit like global warming caused by human waste products. Doesn’t matter if you choose to not believe in it, it’s pure physics at work, has nothing to do with belief. Samaya is tantric physics. Now try to say, I hate gravity, it’s not politically correct, from now on we refuse to be bullied by this stupid old fashioned invention. But rejecting the idea of gravity won’t help you if you step off the roof of a 10 storey building.

            I have no idea if you have a samaya connection with a teacher, but if you have and you are curious, and want to put it to the test, try!
            If you don’t have samaya with some teacher, it’s not your place to tell people who have what they can and can not do. Because it’s quite certain you were not educated to know what it is, how it works, what is safe within it and what is not.

            Because vajrayana is explicitly NOT a safe path. And that’s the reason why traditionally it’s said it’s only for people of the highest capacity. And here capacity does not mean intellectual intelligence (that’s just part of it).

            • Marge

              To Solenodon,

              It does not mean that you ignore the importance of warning innocent people about Sogyal’s sex abuse and Rigpa’s cover-up. Something which Dzongsar has repeatedly failed to do!

              If you want good advice on this subject, you should read the following quote by the highly respected master, Mingyur Rinpoche:

              “However, it is another matter altogether when a teacher is committing serious ethical violations. Leaving a teacher on good terms makes sense when the issue is just a matter of fit between teacher and student. When the issue is people being hurt or laws being broken, the situation is different.

              In that case, the violation of ethical norms needs to be addressed. If physical or sexual abuse has occurred, or there is financial impropriety or other breaches of ethics, it is in the best interest of the students, the community, and ultimately the teacher, to address the issues. Above all, if someone is being harmed, the safety of the victim comes first. This is not a Buddhist principle. This is a basic human value and should never be violated.

              The appropriate response depends on the situation. In some cases, if a teacher has acted inappropriately or harmfully but acknowledges the wrongdoing and commits to avoiding it in the future, then dealing with the matter internally may be adequate. But if there is a long-standing pattern of ethical violations, or if the abuse is extreme, or if the teacher is unwilling to take responsibility, it is appropriate to bring the behavior out into the open.

              In these circumstances, it is not a breach of samaya to bring painful information to light. Naming destructive behaviors is a necessary step to protect those who are being harmed or who are in danger of being harmed in the future, and to safeguard the health of the community.”

              Taken from Lion’s Roar – Published on October 26th 2017

            • Catlover

              @Solenodon,

              I don’t believe that Sogyal is capable of transmitting anything except some very powerful psychic energy that people MISTAKENLY think is a real Dozgchen transmission. It is more of a hypnotic trance state, which controls the victim(s). If they haven’t had a real transmission, how do they know they actually received a REAL transmission from him? What it REALLY is about is Sogyal trying to get into people’s minds. He is a VERY powerful psychic vampire, imo, but a Dzogchen master that does NOT make.

              • Solenodon

                Are you clairvoiant to determine who is and who is not capable to give vajrayana/dzogchen transmission?

                Yes, you believe. That doesn’t mean it has to be the truth.

              • Catlover

                I think people need to have more faith in their ability to sense good energy from bad energy. Telling some they aren’t “capable” of telling the difference disempowers individuals to have faith in their own judgements and gut instincts.

              • Catlover

                Also, Solenodon, how do you know I am NOT clairvoiant ?

              • Catlover

                I should say clairvoyant.

            • Catlover

              @Solenodon,

              I am not sure if I even believe in samaya anymore, but the way I always saw it in my devotional days was that a samaya connection is a heart connection with ones teacher. That means a love between student and teacher on a spiritual level, a karmic connection that goes back to previous lifetimes, and a stirring of ones own compassion and enlightened potential when you’re around that person. A teacher cannot *force* a samaya connection on someone when there is no genuine heart connection. So if Sogyal Rinpoche is forcing people into a samaya bond, then it isn’t real samaya, it is psychic vampirism. You have to have a karmic, heart connection with a teacher to have a samaya connection, so if Sogyal is forcing people to have a connection, then it is NOT samaya. Of course, I am not saying it is impossible for some people to have a genuine heart connection with Sogyal, but those particular people would feel it on a deep level and they would KNOW he is their guru. Some people may ask; “Gee, I was at a teaching and I heard Sogyal give a talk, and he gave this mind-to-mind transmission, so now I wonder, do I have samaya with him? I didn’t realize that!” If they have to ask this, then nothing really happened. One can *feel* it when a transmission happens, and it is something positive, not negative. Samaya is something that is felt in the heart. If these students aren’t feeling anything with Sogyal, and didn’t feel anything at the time of the “transmission,” then it isn’t there! Telling people they have samaya when they didn’t even realize they received an empowerment is just ridiculous, imo! If you get a mind transmission from a Dzogchen master, it is something you feel very deeply. No one even has to tell you that you got a transmission, or at least that’s what I have believed in the past. Now, I am not sure what to believe anymore, but I still believe it to the extent that you can’t say that you got a transmission when nothing happened, and the student did not experience a genuine shift, or feel a bond with that teacher. Sogyal is just trying to control most people because they don’t even realize when they are supposed to have made a “samaya” connection with him, which shows there there is NONE there to begin with!

              • irena

                “…studying, analyzing, critical mind, examining the teacher…
                …and in the end… you still could leave quietly, without making fuss and affecting others bodhicita seed….lots of compassion….loads of compassion”…
                sit, breath, watch your love for cats, emotions in general, your ass sitting on the cushion, watch your mind- in one word- practice.

  41. Marge

    I’ve just finished watching Dzongsar’s three hour speech at Rigpa.

    As predicted, when Dzongsar was asked what he thought about Sogyal, Dzongsar’s ambiguity and red herrings completely covered-up Sogyal’s sex abuse.

    Shame on you Dzongsar, shame on you.

    • Rick New

      HI Marge,

      Would you please send a link to the talk?

      Thanks,

      Rick

    • Solenodon

      When it comes to samaya and how, for every individual practitioner, to continue on the path after the whole mess, SR’s sexual conduct as a fact is simply not important.

      • Marge

        To Solenodon,

        I’m not wasting any more time in order to prove the most obvious point of the importance of warning innocent people about Sogyal’s sex abuse and Rigpa’s cover-up. Something which Dzongsar has repeatedly failed to do!

        Instead, I’ll just leave you with the follwoing quote, by the highly respected master, Mingyur Rinpoche:

        “However, it is another matter altogether when a teacher is committing serious ethical violations. Leaving a teacher on good terms makes sense when the issue is just a matter of fit between teacher and student. When the issue is people being hurt or laws being broken, the situation is different.

        In that case, the violation of ethical norms needs to be addressed. If physical or sexual abuse has occurred, or there is financial impropriety or other breaches of ethics, it is in the best interest of the students, the community, and ultimately the teacher, to address the issues. Above all, if someone is being harmed, the safety of the victim comes first. This is not a Buddhist principle. This is a basic human value and should never be violated.

        The appropriate response depends on the situation. In some cases, if a teacher has acted inappropriately or harmfully but acknowledges the wrongdoing and commits to avoiding it in the future, then dealing with the matter internally may be adequate. But if there is a long-standing pattern of ethical violations, or if the abuse is extreme, or if the teacher is unwilling to take responsibility, it is appropriate to bring the behavior out into the open.

        In these circumstances, it is not a breach of samaya to bring painful information to light. Naming destructive behaviors is a necessary step to protect those who are being harmed or who are in danger of being harmed in the future, and to safeguard the health of the community.”

        Taken from Lion’s Roar – Published on October 26th 2017

        • Solenodon

          SR is out. He is a very sick man and it’s not clear if he will ever come back in his old position as traveling teacher and the main teacher in Rigpa. So at the moment it looks like it’s physically not possible that any inappropriate behaviour can happen in the forseable future.

          So why warn about something that is quite unlikely going to happen again? Nobody else within Rigpa is accused of sexual or physical abusive behaviour. No more danger, no more need for warnings.

          • Marge

            To Lawrence

            Some senior management within Rigpa covered-up Sogyal’s sex abuse, even when it was going on.

            So what a great idea you have, Lawrence! Yes, why don’t we forget all about it, and let Rigpa carry on as though nothing had ever happened, while ignoring all of Sogyal’s sex abuse victims who are still having to receive therapy.

            How incredibly compassionate and wise you are.

            • Marge

              To Solenodon (not Lawrence)

              Some senior management within Rigpa covered-up Sogyal’s sex abuse, even when it was going on.

              So what a great idea you have, Solenodon! Yes, why don’t we forget all about it, and let Rigpa carry on as though nothing had ever happened, while ignoring all of Sogyal’s sex abuse victims who are still having to receive therapy.

              How incredibly compassionate and wise you are.

              • Solenodon

                Well, yes, assholes and idiots exist. You can find some of these everywhere. Why should I care that the Rigpa upper levels have a few of these.

                The vast majority of the normal members has nothing to do with the abuse that has happened as well as the people who witnessed and did nothing.

                The abuse was between SR and the victims and has nothing to do with the normal members. They have not done anything. So why shouldn’t they just carry on if they choose to.

  42. Rick New

    HI Marge,

    Would you please send a link to the talk?

    Thanks,

    Rick

  43. Marge

    This blog has a default setting that will not allow me to post a link.

    Search online. He gave it at Rigpa Berlin on 25th Feb.

  44. Catlover

    I was looking for the comment that DKR made where he said that if the guru could change the rules, it would be a cult because a human being would be able to bend the rules as he sees fit. But he said the guru really can’t change the rules because the rules cannot be changed. So, I wanted to say that this would mean it’s WORSE than a cult, lol! Anyone know where that comment came from?

    • Catlover

      DKR was talking about “samaya” rules. I thought it was from his latest response letter, but I couldn’t find that paragraph again.

      Btw, I DO agree with DKR that Dzogchen IS Tantra. More specifically, it is Nyingma Tantra.

    • Joanne Clark

      It’s in the quote I gave above, Catlover,

  45. Rick New

    Hi Sandra,

    I made a post with a link that hasn’t gone through, is it possible for you to check on that?

    Thanks,

    Rick

  46. Solenodon

    Hey, there is a second video of DKR, of his talk in Lerab Ling in February, it’s on his youtube channel where you can also find the Berlin one.

    • Marge

      To Solenodon,

      I saw the video.

      It’s such a great shame that Dzongsar still remains silent about Sogyal’s sex abuse and the covering-up that went on within Rigpa. He was so critical about many things in that video, but not about the main issue of the abuse.

      Is that why Rigpa have chosen him to be their new advisor to their new governing board that consists of a small group of Sogyal’s closest supporters?

      • Solenodon

        Again, the abuse is done and over because the abuser is no longer there and probably also no longer capable of doing it.

        The only thing he could have mentioned is the behaviour of looking away in the witnesses in the inner circle, and how you are supposed to act instead if you see something like this, as these people also acted wrongly and are still there.

        • Jan de Vries

          The abuse is not done and over for the victims.
          A very easy way of looking at things.

          • Marge

            To Jan de Vries – I completely agree with your statement.

            And to Solenodon – Your vile uncompassionate dissmissing of sex abuse victims verges on victim blaming itself. Your attitude is an absolute disgrace to any civilised country. Evidently, you were not a victim of this sex abuse. Try and imagine yourself in their shoes!

          • Solenodon

            These victims have nothing to do with the thousands of people who were NOT victims or witnesses. This is exclusively between the victims, the perpetrator and the witnesses that have looked away, not anybody else.

            • Marge

              To Solenodon,

              It is impossible to separate Rigpa from Sogyal, as it was all of the way back in 1979 that he himself chose the name “Rigpa” for his work. Therefore, after forty years of his work, everybody will always see Rigpa to be synonymous with his activities, even if he does retire.

              Rigpa are governed by a small board of people who consist of the closest supporters of Sogyal.

              To cover-up Sogyal’s sex abuse, or pretend that Sogyal’s sex abuse isnt’t actually sex abuse, is extremely ignorant and grossly unethical. And this is something that some of Rigpa’s senior management are still doing.

              • Solenodon

                “To cover-up Sogyal’s sex abuse, or pretend that Sogyal’s sex abuse isnt’t actually sex abuse, is extremely ignorant and grossly unethical. And this is something that some of Rigpa’s senior management are still doing.”

                Which has nothing to do with the average member who was not involved as a victim or direct witness.

                It has not even to do with the local instructors, national management etc, as these have also in the vast majority not been involved as victims or direct witness.

  47. Larry

    Dealing with Difficult People:

    “Do not think about things like that. There is no benefit in grasping and thinking about it. You have to let it go. Everything follows the law of karma naturally, there is nothing we can change about it by thinking about it much. If your family members treat you bad in this life, it is the result or karmic creditor of your own past actions. We are responsible for out own karma, we ourselves have created the causes for all our experiences. Enemies, obstructors, mischievous relatives, etc. are only conditions but not the cause. Moreover, the past is gone, it doesn’t exist any longer, we cannot change the past, we have to let it go, so do not think about this. What is more important is that which is actually in your hands, the future. Thus you should rather give rise to love and compassion in order to ensure a happy future. If you think about others’ faults you will only get angry and resentful. Think about their qualities and stop thinking about their faults, then love will arise. If you can’t stop the thoughts, think of Tara and recite her mantra. The Buddha said, “Perfectly tame your own mind, this is the Buddha’s teaching.” The Buddha did not say, “Perfectly tame someone else’s mind.” You have to purify your own mind. If you cling to these thoughts of resentment and frustration again and again, you form a habit, and this habit will manifest before you in the Bardo in the form of a delusive perception which is the projection of your own mind, just like a TV show. This is what creates hell, it is the projections of one’s own anger and resentment. Let go of it and make an effort to cultivate love. The only thing you should hold on to is love. Then you have no fear when you die, you will be born in the higher realms and slowly attain enlightenment. So do not worry about the faults of others, rather purify your own faults.”
    – Garchen Rinpoche

    • Marge

      To Larry,

      Thank you for the quote by Garchen Rinpoche. It is a beautiful teaching that makes a lot of sense for many people during many occasions.

      However, sometimes, if one is in a certain position, and has the time and energy and compassionate motivation for the victim and perpetrator, it can be immensely beneficial for all, to speak out against abuse.

      I am alluding to the importance of warning innocent people about Sogyal’s sex abuse and Rigpa’s cover-up. Something which Dzongsar has repeatedly failed to do!

      So if I may, I would like to leave you with the follwoing quote, by Mingyur Rinpoche:

      “However, it is another matter altogether when a teacher is committing serious ethical violations. Leaving a teacher on good terms makes sense when the issue is just a matter of fit between teacher and student. When the issue is people being hurt or laws being broken, the situation is different.

      In that case, the violation of ethical norms needs to be addressed. If physical or sexual abuse has occurred, or there is financial impropriety or other breaches of ethics, it is in the best interest of the students, the community, and ultimately the teacher, to address the issues. Above all, if someone is being harmed, the safety of the victim comes first. This is not a Buddhist principle. This is a basic human value and should never be violated.

      The appropriate response depends on the situation. In some cases, if a teacher has acted inappropriately or harmfully but acknowledges the wrongdoing and commits to avoiding it in the future, then dealing with the matter internally may be adequate. But if there is a long-standing pattern of ethical violations, or if the abuse is extreme, or if the teacher is unwilling to take responsibility, it is appropriate to bring the behavior out into the open.

      In these circumstances, it is not a breach of samaya to bring painful information to light. Naming destructive behaviors is a necessary step to protect those who are being harmed or who are in danger of being harmed in the future, and to safeguard the health of the community.”

      Taken from Lion’s Roar – Published on October 26th 2017

  48. Larry Mallet

    Thanks Marge. I am aware of this quote from Mingyur Rinpoche and I agree with it completely. I have no disagreement with his statement or the statement made by HHDL though I know that some of my fellow members of Rigpa (I met one) may be displeased by my view. Nonetheless, these are my own guidelines. I can only speculate, but not with any certainty why Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, (who by the way is also one of my teachers) has not addressed this directly. I will however, say that if I were Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, which obviously I am not, I would probably feel that the “cat was already out of the bag” with Sogyal Rinpoche. Is there really a reason to fall back further on blame? (He seems to say to see the guru as perfect no matter what. I myself have problems with this. Another bad samaya point for me). If he sees Sogyal Rinpoche as the product of causes and conditions, and not as an inherently existing bad guy, should he blame SR rather than recognize that SR is only an illusory display arising from causes and conditions, like just us all? Is it not obvious as it is that there has been a problem our conventional truth? Not everyone who comes to the Dharma is not a model citizen. I haven’t seen people who had some maladaptive and sociopathic behaviors, characteristics and mental issues *excluded* from the Dharma or allowed refuge. I have of course seen people severely scolded. If DKR were to blame SR (particularly publicly; and we have no idea what has happened privately). this might make some people happy, and solidify the requirement that gurus behave conventionally in concert with legal and appropriate behavior. It might also reinforce a sense of victimization, self-righteousness, and the sense of a truly existent self.

    Of course, the Mind Training teachings say “take all blame upon oneself” and now that these personally devastating issues have arisen, (I do not say that I would have reacted differently) the people who experience egregious harm and the ones observing and sympathizing with their devastation maybe would like to cast this practice aside. I am not saying that people harmed or witnesses should keep quiet or not withdraw from the teacher (DKR might not like my view on this). DKR has noted in his letter to Bernie that “But also bear in mind that Sogyal Rinpoche’s manifestation has affected a lot of people’s inspiration and aspiration. It may have permanently damaged the image of the Buddhadharma in general and the Vajrayana in particular in the eyes of some people, and it has certainly caused considerable negative uproar.” I myself do not view this as a trivial statement, and I think it is one SR is likely to know and not be happy about.

    DKR has also written in his book [and spoken on, though maybe more articulately in his books] what the karmic price to the guru will be about causing harmful actions to disciples and “burning their seed of enlightenment”. I myself don’t think he has to say “bad boy” on top of this. (Again Mingyur Rinpoche has not mentioned SR by name to my knowledge). Of course, DKR can embrace blame, and cast aside the mind training teachings, or he may do his job of undermining people’s egos and sense of a permanent self with inherent characteristics. He could be directly asked to speak on ethics of gurus behavior, and he covers this in his book to some extent. Certainly from the view of Vajrayana or Vajrasattva no one is excluded from taking refuge, regardless of the countless crimes and harms they have done in past lives.

    I must admit, having read most of DKR’s book, I come away with a sense that he plays both sides of the issue. This doesn’t bother me, since I think his position is to undermine disciples sense of solidity and a permanently and inherently existing sense and characteristics.

    You know, I have received empowerments and teachings from a large number of masters. Many of these teachers seem to respond to some things including this “mess” in not exactly the same way, and sometimes noticeable differently. Of course, this causes me dis-ease and interior conflict. And I am frankly not a “true believer” to use the word Eric Hoffer used. I like things to make sense, and believe in examination. Not in just parroting a guru. So I live with a good deal of painful conflict. I look at it this way. This conflict enables me to look and understand various positions. Of course, I am naturally more sympathetic to some positions than others. And by the way I am fully aware that I am a bit like a Catholic who has been trained to believe in the Buddhist version of “papal infallibility” though frankly that has never set well with me. Therefor, I might be viewed as a serious samaya breaker. Some gurus might want to cast me out; and others would clearly not. The point I am trying to get at is this mess is all out in the open. People have a lot of information, and a lot of people feel groundless (like me) while others wouldn’t doubt the behavior of their guru, and still others want to solidify condemnation and characteristics. That’s not to say that I blame anyone who wants an apology or open acknowledgement. I kind of doubt that is going to be forthcoming no matter how people pound on the walls. I can understand people’s resentment, frustration, and sense of feeling deeply aggrieved. I think there are two choices: Junking the Buddhist teachings on compassion, or embracing them. It seems to me that Vajrayana masters work with the paradoxical elements of trying to ground their students on the one hand, and pulling the rug out from under them with the other.

    I want to emphasize that I understand ethics is one of the paramitas, and even if it weren’t I would still embrace it for myself. It’s a real dilemma. Teachers such as DKR say they are not dealing with only this live but future lives. He has said that that gurus have sense a greater responsibility with disciples than with a child who they might have for a single life (that is how I heard it so forgive me if I am wrong). [Yes, some people believe this is mere Buddhist propaganda. Whether any individual former or current self labeled disciple dismisses the law of cause and effect I am not qualified to say]. DKR also notes that this is kaliguya, and that it is difficult if not impossible to find teachers with all qualifications in place. I know that the other side of this is to ask, “do guru’s have a blank check to do anything wrong?” just because this is kaliyuga

    Nonetheless, the whole practice is about unconditional love and acceptance, but when it comes down to specific situations, few if any of us can do that, but that is why its a training (and not a piece of cake).

    Will holding on to victimization work? Is it wrong to warn people of being a potential future victim (not in my book, by the way). Can an organization reform that will not genuinely recognize harm has occurred? Are disciples who give blank checks to gurus part of the problem not matter what their gurus do? (The answer is yes in my book as well as yours). Is it possible some Buddhist masters have a better handle on future lives and burning karma than their students? Are some Buddhist masters perverts and if so is it still okay to follow them? (My recollection is that Patrul Rinpoche said that false gurus can take their students with them to the hell realm, but maybe I am wrong and bound for the hell realm myself). I don’t know the ultimate answers to these questions, though yes, I have strong opinions.

    Finally I want to address one final thing. And of course this may be something that I am unclear about, but in any case feel that Bernie has not made this clear. And that is that Sogyal Rinpoche did not make samaya commitments clear. Having been a disciple of SR for 38 years (HHDL too by the way), I felt I received clear instructions on samaya from, though I grant they may have not been repeated sufficiently often. I wish Bernie could specifically designate precisely what he felt was lacking. I frankly would have expected Bernie and I to have had similar views on this. Bernie – can you please clarify what was specifically missing?

    I apologize for my absurdly long winded response. I am no doubt subject to criticism from both sides of this issue, though in my mind that is a good thing. By the way I had a prior statement that I posted to this page, I thought under this article. It seems to have been deleted. No doubt it might have been seen as not politically correct, {I am very capable on occasion of being politically incorrect) but if it has in fact been censored, I find that disturbing, particularly without a comment as to why it was. This is an open page at least for Vajrayana practitioners, is it not?

    • Marge

      To Larry,

      I would rather not speculate, but instead I will stick with the hard facts that are plain to see. By doing so we can find a way forward for all the the victims of Sogyal’s sex abuse and the covering-up that went on at Rigpa.

      Until Dzongsar speaks out, and Rigpa and Sogyal come forward and sincerely apologise to all of the victims, there will always be serious concern.

      So many people have now left Rigpa, and the remaining Rigpa members are extremely confused as to what is being done to address this terrible situation…. Something which Dzongsar is failing to do.

      • Solenodon

        From what I have heard the membership loss in Germany was about 10%.

        And no, nobody is confused anymore, where I live there is just a lot of very open talking about all the things that have been a bit fishy and un-dharmic in Rigpa, and here I don’t mean SR’s behaviour but small stuff on the sangha level, attitude, permission of critical thinking etc. The people who decided to stay (the vast majority where I live) have greatly profited from these events.

        • Rick New

          “…but small stuff on the sangha level, attitude, permission of critical thinking etc. The people who decided to stay (the vast majority where I live) have greatly profited from these events.”

          This is very encouraging news. Thanks for posting.

        • Marge

          To Solenodon,

          Do not for one minute think that you can trick us into believing that absolute fabricated nonsense.

          Rigpa around the world is in crisis. Many people have now left Rigpa. And some of the members who choose to remain are deeply upset and in a state of utter confusion.

          • Solenodon

            I happen to be in regular contact to a local group, attending events there. So don’t tell me anything about “absolutely fabricated nonsense”.

            10 % have left in Germany.

            And no, no longer all that much confusion to be seen. That was more in the weeks and few months immediately after the explosion. The emotional upset has settled down by now as I have personally witnessed.

            Now I can’t say much about Rigpa France or USA, but for Germany this is what it currently is.

            • neveranotherlikeme

              One of Mara’s arrow was aimed to shoot the piggy bank…. oink! oink! onink!… keepgiggling

            • Marge

              To Solenodon,

              Because so many people have now left Rigpa, and because Rigpa’s donations have crashed, it is widely known that Rigpa are currently engaging in a massive damage limitation excercise, which involve common public relations tricks.

              One such trick is to play everything down by going online and telling the public the same kind of fabricated nonsense that you are writing.

              • Solenodon

                10% membership loss of the registred association in Germany is not “so many”.

                And from what I see of people no longer being there locally, the 10% seems about accurate. Your “mass exodus” you claim here is a fantasy.

              • Marge

                To Solenodon,

                As you continuously distort information about the many people who have left Rigpa, and as you are dismissing the seriousness of Sogyal’s sex abuse and Rigpa’s covering-up, I am no longer going to engage in any more dialogue with you.

                Solenodon, your misleading information is grossly irresponsible and unethical, and you are a disgrace to any civilised country that condemns sex abuse.

                NOTE TO ALL READERS: Be very careful about Solenodon’s information. Rigpa are engaging in a massive damage limitation excercise that involves playing down the seriousness of their crisis. Please go online and research the truth for yourselves.

              • Solenodon

                Nope. Rigpa Germany has lost about 10% of it’s members as I have heard from reliable people closer to management.

                This is reflected in the amount of people no longer coming to events (sangha days) I attend that I personally witnessed. There is no big exodus.

                Nobody of these I know is any longer in emotional disarray. On the contrary, the digestion process put a lot of good developments in motion.

                Now I am a first hand witness of how it’s going in one of the largest local sanghas in Germany, and for the membership numbers, it’s a registered association, any member can request statistics about memberships, finances etc. There is no big secret about it. I can get you the actual correct, current numbers if you want.

        • Adamo

          “I can get you the actual correct, current numbers if you want.”

          Yes, I would like to know actuall numbers, in case you still could provide that and you still keep your offer up.

    • Solenodon

      “Of course, the Mind Training teachings say “take all blame upon oneself” and now that these personally devastating issues have arisen, (I do not say that I would have reacted differently) the people who experience egregious harm and the ones observing and sympathizing with their devastation maybe would like to cast this practice aside.”

      I am currently in a bullying situation and so far have simply ignored the incidents because I simply found them too petty and insignificant to do anything about this behaviour by multiple people and just let it go.

      The result is, that last week the three perpetrators have escalated the whole thing and caused a big public scene, to my total disadvantage, dragging a whole group of people into it that have absolutely nothing to do with it. There is negative behaviour that needs to be actively stopped because if it’s not the perpetrators feel encouraged to continue, increase the intensity and get more and more bold in their “crimes”.

      • Marge

        To Solenodon,

        The biggest ”crime” is to cover-up, dismiss, or turn a blind eye to sex abuse.

        • Solenodon

          Yes, but this crime is just the crime of exactly the individuals who did it, not anyone else.

          The fact that someone may have a drug trafficker or bank robber in the family and people didn’t even know about it, doesn’t reflect in any way badly on the rest of the family members who were not involved in it.

      • Adamo

        “Now I am a first hand witness of how it’s going in one of the largest local sanghas in Germany, and for the membership numbers, it’s a registered association, any member can request statistics about memberships, finances etc. There is no big secret about it. I can get you the actual correct, current numbers if you want.”

        Yes, I am interested in knowing the current numbers, if you have access to it.

        • notsohopeful

          Germany is under the iron fist control of pp, it’s his nest egg, my guess is he’d like lerab ling to fail, more money consolidated for his pet projects in Berlin.

          the level of sickness and deceit is staggering, and pp and pg are masterful at manipulation, they also spend sangha money on high price consultants to help them strategize…this is not speculation, it’s a fact.

          The German cultural proclivity to look the other way when something is not as it should be is still strong, even after their experience with Hitler. They are the perfect country to become the center of the rigpa mandala.

          • Solenodon

            “The German cultural proclivity to look the other way when something is not as it should be is still strong, even after their experience with Hitler. They are the perfect country to become the center of the rigpa mandala.”

            LOL

            When every other argument fails good old Hitler is pulled out of the closet to prove how depraved the Germans are….

            You are stark, raving mad…..

          • Solenodon

            Turns out you are a blatant racist.

            Do in your opinion Poles steal cars and Jews rip you off financially, too? And of course black Africans are a bit dumb but good at sports and music?

            Man man man, you just totally disqualified yourself with that Germans/Hitler comment….

            • notsohopeful

              You’ve proven my point.

              To imply or try to conflate historic fact with racist stereotypes that have no basis in reality is a perfect example of using emotionally manipulative techniques, language and hysteria to distract from the main point. These are techniques similar to what rigpa international and djkr are using. Germany is responsible for the most horrific crime to be perpetrated in modern history, unless you’re a death camp denier too?

              I don’t believe for a minute that Germans are more evil than others, but there is something in the cultural ethos that allowed such a sick depraved regime to thrive, flourish and almost conquer Europe. The kindest explanation I’ve read is that there is a strong cultural leaning towards a well ordered society, trains on time, sophisticated engineering, that struggles to know how to deal with anything that doesn’t ‘fit’ properly in its place, so it goes ignored, compartmentalized, relegated to “information I don’t need to know”.

              It will keep happening until people wake up. EVERY culture has it’s own blind spots, sometimes they lead to tragedy.

              • Solenodon

                Yeah, because organized genocide is a German invention/”privilege”

                And yes, by claiming that Germans are particularly prone to it you are falling for racist stereotypes.

                You may not like to hear it, but organized “culling” of groups of people (if you want it, you will invent a reason why it is justified) has been around since the stone age.

                Plus, Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao were just as deadly as Hitler, the only difference is that their killing was more exclusively on the ideological line, Hitler’s tended to be more on the racist.

                Ironic, btw, that all the Russians I have met were all nice people.

              • notsohopeful

                I hear you, I don’t disagree with your points. I don’t feel that I’m racist, but maybe that’s my blind spot. I was trying to make a point about cultural bias, which does exist.

                On the other hand, I don’t know whether any genocidal campaign in modern history has been as successful as Germany’s except the American’s genocide of indigenous people, but I’m not a historian.

                The point is I think that as soon as we stop having respect and concern for other people’s suffering and pain, as soon as we turn away and say ‘that’s not my problem’ we are in very dangerous territory and without caution might be the next victim.

                It seems important to get involved, even if it’s just being wisely selfish with the motivation to not become a victim.

                Last point, EVERYONE who gave money to sl has had their trust violated, it was used to fund a very sick, extremely lavish lifestyle with regular support to multiple girlfriends (designer clothing, cosmetic surgery, expensive hotel and restaurants). sl has traveled at least business class, mostly first class, for years now, he stays in accommodations that cost in excess of 1,000/euro/day on a regular basis. The physical and emotional abuse was far more rampant than the sexual abuse that so many people focus on. Going to a restaurant with him was often an exercise in extreme embarrassment as he regularly berated and humiliated servers. Did you know he was asked to leave restaurants more than once due to his abuse?

                People who never glimpsed behind the curtain have no idea how bad it was:(

                He did a lot of good, he’s also destroyed lives and been disrespectful and disloyal to all of his students. I don’t agree with djkr’s weighing good and bad and giving him a pass based on an arbitrary measurement.

              • Solenodon

                Sogyal Rinpoche never had an “extremely lavish lifestyle”

                His lifestyle was middle class. That I can testify by being in the transport crew of events in Germany, and having seen where he was accommodated on tour at multiple occasions. Often the accommodation was at sangha members private homes for free.

                In Lerab Ling he lived in a small bungalow and a few smaller upstairs rooms in the old farm house.

                He does not own outright luxury goods either.

                So, during the time I witnessed, nothing but middle class lifestyle.

                And by the way, HHDL, when he is in Munich, resides at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof. That’s the one where the annual Munich security conference is held. Now, what’s good enough for the heads of the most rich and important nations on earth…..

              • notsohopeful

                Regarding lavish lifestyle, when I first started helping in hospitality sl was very careful with money. He never flew first class, and always tried to stay with students or asked us to find free accommodations. That all changed drastically after his 2005 hospitalization. He never wanted to stay with sangha again, he always flew first class internationally, and I watched him spend thousands of dollars at restaurants. Those are facts from someone who was inside the household who often booked things for him and went out to eat with him many times.
                Regarding housing, he was increasingly unsettled all the time and didn’t want to be around sangha, he actively stopped staying at places he’d stayed for years. On top of luxury homes for himself he also started having us book accommodations for various girlfriends who didn’t want to be in the thick of things at his house.
                You obviously haven’t been in the completely remodeled chalet complex in Lerab ling where he has a large living room overlooking his private pool, waterfall and gazebo, a shrine room and bedroom all just for him. Then there is the middle chalet with multiple rooms filled with his stuff, a small office and a small bed for an attendant. Then there’s the apartment with a kitchen.

                There has been a steady escalation of expenses over the past 12 years and he now lives very lavishly, it’s absolutely no where near middle class by anyone’s definition.

              • Solenodon

                Ah, that’s interesting to hear, that the spending of unacceptable amounts of money is a rather recent development. That could explain why I haven’t seen any of it, reducing doing the transport/local preparation job around the time when the Kirchheim retreats were no longer held (where I knew his accommodation because I was involved in preparing it), the Berlin center was established and he almost stopped traveling to Germany except for Berlin.

                Now in Berlin of course the center has the lama apartment which is indeed not a hermit’s den and apart from that, since 2010 or so he hardly spent any time in Germany except in Berlin. So no chance for me to see any of this. That fits together with what you say is the time frame when this spending habit got out of hand.

                But if there was a change starting to happen from 2005 onwards, that’s a bit suspicious. There are health problems that can cause drastic changes in habits and personality traits at a later age. The father of somebody I know became combative and at times did quite irrational things after a mild stroke. When relatively suddenly out of character behavior changes start at that age, I would drag the person to see a neurologist.

      • notsohopeful

        I really can’t follow your logic. On one hand you insist that only the people directly abused by sl and the rigpa international gang should even bother about this and then you say

        ” There is negative behaviour that needs to be actively stopped because if it’s not the perpetrators feel encouraged to continue, increase the intensity and get more and more bold in their “crimes”.

        Those at the top, especially pp and pg, are serial perpetrators who people like you are encouraging to continue,” increase the intensity, and get more and more bold in their “crimes” by your comments. They are guilty of normalizing serial physical, emotional and sexual abuse, and financial malfeasance; they knew about everything all along, even shared their women with sl at times. Then there is the technique of framing crimes that they were privy to at the time they were happening, as ‘alleged’. No one has gone after them so far, but this is getting old, my patience is wearing thin.

        Why doesn’t this apply to rigpa international staff who are just as guilty as sl due to covering up and colluding with him for years.

        “There is negative behaviour that needs to be actively stopped because if it’s not the perpetrators feel encouraged to continue, increase the intensity and get more and more bold in their “crimes”.

        • notsohopeful

          @ Solenodon
          He went into a coma for 5 days in November 2005 and was hospitalized. The doctors never came up with an official cause, they ruled out stroke, diabetic blood sugar incident, bacterial infection, basically everything was ruled out. The diagnosis said something like suspected virus, his family blamed the sangha. His younger brother, Dzogchen Rinpoche, did not blame us, he tried to shield us from the rest of the lunatics. Ian Maxwell died a month later.

          sl was never the same after that, he became even more unsettled all the time and those of us around him began to walk on egg shells which created a very unhealthy cocoon. It’s only in retrospect that I realize that what we thought was supportive was actually the recipe for deepening levels of delusion. He was always a pervert and harsh, but he started to be unable to do anything for himself and the demands were really insane. Just one simple example, every major country had to spend thousands of dollars getting matching sets of tables custom made for him. An exact building plan had to be followed, the same wood (very expensive) and color of stain had to be followed (had to be flown from one supplier in Europe to every other country), and there were never enough of them. When he went to bed he had to have multiple tables in the perfect position with very specific items all lined up in the right order, the way you’d see him blow up in the shrine room over something in the wrong place, multiply it by 100 times in private. So we perfected everything to try to keep him calm. He exhibits OCD behaviors in all areas of his life, it’s literally a major disaster if he doesn’t get the exact seat on the plane that he wants, the car stereo has to work exactly as he wants it to, all towels and sheets all have to be the right color, there always has to be a massive supply of food on hand in case he wants something so the cook is always ready to prepare any of up to 10 different dishes anytime of the day or night, and then he gets take away or goes out and the food rots.

          He refused most of the doctors suggestions, and he’s not a man who anyone can drag anywhere unless you’d want the shit beat out of you. I tried but it would have taken a group effort and everyone was so in awe of him as their master they would never go against his wishes. THAT is why the letter had to be written, some of us spent years trying to work with this very, very sick situation from within, it was impossible.

          He has had symptoms of prostate and colon disease for years, he refused any treatment or even tests. The only reason it was discovered is because lamas insisted on a full physical work up after the letter came out. But no one knows that part of the story, only kn and ot implying the letter writers caused his ill health….it’s some seriously messed up superstitious ****. It’s all very tragic and could have been averted, rigpa could still pull out of this, which is my fondest wish, but now with djkr spouting his nonsense it becomes less and less likely.

          • Solenodon

            That’s interesting to read. But you know, exactly what you write now, in detail how exactly the situation deteriorated, what exactly his odd behaviours were in practical examples (like with these infamous tables, yes, I know them. Yes, that looks like odd behaviour, possibly OCD and not random egoism) and how and when they progressed should have been in the roundmail letter to the sangha members.

            That makes it a lot more understandable and for me personally clearly points to health problems, neurological and possibly psychiatric, rather than an irresponsible asshole problem.

            I have always seen the bubble around SR as a problem and unhealthy, even back in the mid 90ies, when I first came in contact with Rigpa.

            Oh dear, there should have been someone there, sufficiently realized and with the necessary authority, to tell him, hey, that’s BS, you stop this NOW. But with Tibetans the chance of some of the old lamas having the balls and doing that is that of a snowball in hell. Alas, there are no more Do Khyentses around, perspective enough to see what’s going on and unafraid enough to confront and be unpopular, for the good of the dharma!

            BTW, what about his son? I haven’t heard anything of him for years, he must be 18 years now. Is he still there in these circles, or is he out?

          • Solenodon

            DKR states that in his opinion SR has taught vajrayana randomly and to unprepared students. And DKR rightly says, in those cases the violation of the teacher is much greater than that of the students “because he should have known better”.

            Now that’s a serious samaya transgression. If one considers samaya violation as a valid cause for health problems, it can very well be SR’s own teaching habits that now causes his health problems, not the behaviour of some of the students.

          • Solenodon

            Oh and by the way, I was at the Berlin center, helping to prepare it for the opening in 2007.
            We were perfectly on schedule and everything looked really good, when a few hours before SR was supposed to arrive some of the Lerab Ling crew descended on us and started making ludicrous demands what needs to be changed last minute. Basically one person wanted us to change a larger portion of the hanging of the big print thangkas, that took us days to figure out how to best hang in that large hall.
            He demanded these changes with an aggressiveness that totally took me aback.
            Was that guy possibly so stressed out by SR, that he just passed down the pressure so he wouldn’t incur the heat if something was not to SR’s satisfaction?

            • notsohopeful

              @ Solenodon
              This is a response to all three of your posts.
              I tried to raise the alarm for years, and I’m not the only one. As soon as anyone started to show some independent thought or indicated that they thought things needed to change they were attacked by rigpa international staff. So most rigpa management that are left are spineless sycophants, or in the case of g in Germany, a mindless devotee of pp.

              I am sad and dismayed that pp and pg are still in power, they are the main people who could have done something useful over the years and didn’t. They actively fought against anyone who brought up concerns over the way rigpa did things. They have both actively helped to create and support the delusion. They both, in their own way, did very destructive things themselves. pg is almost completely inept in everything except study and scholarly things but still got involved in decision making with disastrous results over and over again. pp is cruel and bitter, and absolutely loathes most of the sangha, he is completely dismissive of them in private and says very cutting things about you all behind closed doors. I got the impression that he’s done a lot of things he didn’t want to and blames everyone, including sl, but takes no personal responsibility for his part in it all. He’s also djkr’s lap dog from way back, that’s probably why djkr is trying to rescue rigpa, not for sl who he had a falling out with and mostly stopped teaching at rigpa in the early 2000’s. I also tried with rigpa staff and boards, no one wanted to loose their magical being, in other words they don’t give a flying **** about sogyal lakar the human being, he was not allowed to age and need help. People were afraid of loosing their standing, rigpa was basically run like a royal court with everyone trying to get the attention of the king and betraying each other to gain standing. I doubt that very many other sanghas are run this way. sl kept everyone full of fear and at each other’s throats as a means of control

              Regarding the person who yelled at you, it was probably mostly intense fear of disappointing sl, which was probably equal parts wanting to save face and being afraid of sl’s reaction. sl is extremely exacting in all things, there’s no space for them to be any way but his way full stop. The way he denigrates people in public is extremely mild compared to what he does and says in private.

              Having said all of that, I think that the culture sl came from and how he was raised is largely to blame, not vajrayana. It is probably considered a dangerous path because putting your complete trust in someone who is not particularly stable themselves is a recipe for disaster. sl spent his formative years in jkcl household, who was sleeping with multiple women. Khandro, his aunt, was something like 30 years jkcl’s junior, some say sl’s mother was also a consort and others, what do you think that would do to a young boy’s personality? Apparently jkcl had a violent temper and regularly beat people, sl was the cossetted child who was treated like a little god. Some say he was young it doesn’t matter, in fact the first 5 years of life are when the majority of our brain structure and personality are formed. They are the most crucial formative years of our life.

              I won’t say anything about sl’s son except that he’s got a wonderful amazing mother, if anyone can help him through what must be a very upsetting change of circumstances it’s her.

              • Solenodon

                That’s highly interesting to read, thank you for the clarification. I’m really grateful that you supply all these detail informations. It makes the whole situation a lot more understandable.

                I always had a vague impression that SR’s inner circle might not exactly be a cosy place, the German lama household women responsible for Kirchheim, except one, who left after a while were basically a bunch of neurotic witches (you get to know them and their attitudes if you are just a lowly transport crew person) and I had seen that there were a lot of wholly unsuitable people in positions, like that Greta woman in sangha care or Elisabeth Nowotny, but that it was that bad a shark basin is a new to me.
                What about people like AniSherab, who spent some time in these circles, then left, apparently without much of a grudge or claiming being harmed?

                If the state of affairs within the inner circles was that bad, then SR creating this exclusive bubble around himself kind of insulated the normal sangha from this and it may very well be the reason that within Rigpa approximately genuine dharma could still be taught and practiced, despite this totally dysfunctional group dynamic within that core group that to me certainly always looked like the court of a feudal lord (something SR in old Tibet apparently would have been, hadn’t the Chinese invaded).

                Also isn’t there this one woman who is kind of his long term main girlfriend? I forgot her name (I’m generally very bad with names..) What is her place in all of this?

                And if it was that dysfunctional and unpleasant to be in these circles, how did they recruit new people to join in? Shouldn’t most of them have run after three weeks? How were people chosen for this?

                Anyway, this closed up system is what now saves Rigpa because not much of it spilled into local Rigpa groups, where people who actually practice go.

                What DKR tells in these videos is clarification of the basics, something that in a vajrayana organisation like Rigpa should have happened decades earlier. It was high time that someone competent in dharma knowledge who has an insight into the western mindset take over and tries to straighten out all this. You say that DKR had a falling out with SR? Are there any details to this known? Was that because, as he mentions in one of his talks, because he criticised that SR insisted on the Tibetan style of temple? Maybe he critisised more than that?

                In my opinion, these misguided people who are still high up in the hierarchy are not what makes Rigpa, it’s the authentic teachers who teach (like Khandro Rinpoche, Trulshik Rinpoche etc) and the ordinary members who listen to it and do their best to practice. So in my opinion, with qualified lamas to take over Rigpa has a chance at a good future.

                pp is Phillip Phillipou as I understand it, but who is pg?

    • French Observer

      “solidify the requirement that gurus behave conventionally in concert with legal and appropriate behavior”.

      In fact, there is a requirement to behave according to the law. The so-called “gurus” who don’t accept this requirement would be better to leave our developped countries. THEY ARE NOT WELCOME.

  49. Larry Mallet

    Just for the record I meant to say that I have seen some people who have come to the dharma who have maladaptive, and sociopathic behavior, and not the contrary as I incorrectly wrote. All the best. I hope what arises is beneficial, and that everyone who participates in this discission maintains a compassion and constructive intent without classifying each other as enemies. From my own position we are all creating the causes and conditions as to what karmically will arise in our own experiences. May all sentient being be benefitted immeasurably.

  50. Irena

    Big fuss!
    Are you practitioners, you guys?
    What have you been doing all these years beside letting your teacher abuse you? Or you abusing each other? So incredibly childish, irresponsible and moronic all this is!
    Buddhism, Vajrayana, is about mind training to liberate oneself from all these samsaric traps, excuse me, are you sure you have been doing this part the mind training practice or what?
    Nobody seems to be good enough for you, so, as DJK Rinpoche said, it might be better to download a mindfulness app, much safer and cheaper.

    • Marge

      It’s hilarious isn’t it…. Rigpa call on Dzongsar, Sogyal’s closest ally to pull them out of this mess, but his uncompassionate ramblings just make it a whole lot worse.

      Also, let us not forget that in August last year, Dzongsar came forward and issued an unusual response in which he did not state whether or not he believed that Sogyal had committed sex abuse. But he did shockingly state, “On balance, I would argue that Sogyal Rinpoche has contributed far more benefit to this world and Buddhadharma than harm.”

      It is absolutely incumbent upon any Buddhist teacher to be responsible for a safe environment for students to study. However, many people believe that Dzongsar is still not showing consideration towards Sogyal’s victims, some of whom are young women, who are emotionally and physically scarred, and who are still having to receive therapy.

      Also, let us not forget that Dzongsar posted that most shocking “Sex Contract” on his Facebook page last year, trying to make light of the sex abuse controversy surrounding Sogyal and Rigpa. For those of you who didn’t see it, it was the most inappropriate stunt in the form of a legal “Sex Contract”, which listed numerous things that any rinpoche and student could sign mutual consent for, such as – the student would allow the rinpoche to give them anal sex, vaginal sex, and battery, and the student would also accept being urinated and defacated upon, and if the student got pregnant by the rinpoche, she must have an abortion. This “Sex Contract” deeply upset many people, particulalry as Dzongsar posted it on his public Facebook page where many young Buddhists saw it, some of whom were minors. As a result of the uproar, the post was eventually taken down. However, despite receiving many complaints, Dzongsar failed to issue an apology to the many people who were not only insulted during such a sensitive time, but who were also deeply and justifiably concerned about the damage that it did to the image of Buddhism.

      After all of this, and his continuous uncompassionate ramblings, many people no longer take Dzongsar seriously.

      • Solenodon

        The Khyentse incarnations are emanations of Manjushri, the wisdom aspect of the bodhisattva path, the whole bunch of them that all trace back to Jigme Lingpa.

        Don’t expect lovey-dovey crowd pleasing blabla of any of that lineage. They are all pretty much no nonsense and intellectual as far as I have met them, even the more kindly ones like Alak Zenkar. If you have a problem with what they have to say, that’s pretty much your own problem. They are not crowd pleasers. That’s very simply not the purpose of wisdom.

        • Marge

          Oh dear, Solenodon is now attempting to defend the indefensible by making all kinds of claims about Dzongsar. LOL

          I prefer to go with what can be clearly witnessed by all.

  51. Catlover

    @Marge,

    Of course Rigpa would call on him. he is there ally, cut from the same cloth. Who else would they call, lol? (Well, I can think of a few others they could have called as well, lol!) Although there have been no public accusations against him yet, my gut tells me that Dzongsar probably abuses his students too. If he takes over Rigpa, they will have just replaced one abusive teacher for another abusive teacher.

    • Irena

      With all due respect, compassion etc. it seems what the West is ready for at present is the 1.99 $ mindfulness application.

      • Catlover

        You sure have an attitude, Irena. Perhaps you should look in the mirror before you judge others.

        • irena

          Exactly, thank you!
          “…studying, analyzing, critical mind, examining the teacher…
          …and in the end… you still could leave quietly, without making fuss and affecting others bodhicita seed….lots of compassion….loads of compassion…”
          sit, breath, watch your love for cats- emotions in general, your ass sitting on the cushion, watch your mind- in one word- practice.

    • Abhidharma

      Hi Catlover.
      I was a ‘close’ student of DKR for years and he always treated me respectfully and sensitively. I never ever witnessed any abusive behaviour, nor heard any word nor saw any signs anything abusive was going on. He is nothing like SR at all.

      • Catlover

        @Abhidharma,
        Are you a man or woman? I think your gender might possibly influence how he might treat you? Also, did you witness how he treated others? Frankly, if I had a teacher who was nice to me, but I could see he treated others badly, I would not want to have such a teacher.

        • Abhidharma

          @ Catlover
          I was a youngish female and never experienced nor saw nor heard of abusive behaviour towards any of his male or female students over the many years I was present.
          He is cut from a different cloth entirely than SR.

          • Catlover

            @Abhidharma,

            Maybe you were just lucky? Were you around DKR in a personal sort of way, watching his personal interactions with people, as he was privately engaging with them? Or were you attending his teachings for many years, and maybe occasionally you got to talk to him, and you mostly just saw him in public? BIG difference. Were you ever actually ALONE with him in private? One can kind of “be around” a teacher for a long time and still never see what they do in secret.

            • Abhidharma

              Hi Catlover,
              yes, close, personal, alone with him, also small groups over many years.
              I needn’t say more and hope that is helpful.

              • Catlover

                Well, I don’t get a good vibe from him, and he seems to dig himself deeper into a hole every time he opens his mouth and says something. I don’t mean to knock your own personal experience, but it’s hard for me to believe that his behavior would be so pure, if he can’t even articulate things in a way which shows integrity. If you have had good experiences with him, then that’s good. I would personally not blame any woman for feeling nervous about being alone with him for more than five minutes, lol!

              • Abhidharma

                You’re entitled to your vibes and beliefs Catlover. But your perceptions are entirely your own and I daresay not based in a longterm, close, personal, lived experience with this teacher.

              • Catlover

                It’s true that I don’t know DKR personally, (and I don’t think I want to). Other people have not had such good experiences with him as you described, so in my opinion, you are probably just lucky. I was very lucky and never witnessed or experienced bad stuff with lamas personally. I have been sheltered in that way. Sometimes it just happens that someone can enter a Dharma center and never happen to see the politics, the sexual affairs, and all the other weird stuff that goes on.

              • Catlover

                That’s not to say I didn’t eventually hear gossip. But I never happened to witness very much first hand.

  52. Catlover

    I strongly disagree with DKR’s statement (during his long, three hour video) that once you have “chosen” a Tantric guru, there is no going back and you MUST stick with that teacher (no mater what he does) and see him as a Buddha because “THIS IS THE PATH YOU HAVE CHOSEN!” People change paths all the time, and they can change their minds about religion and gurus. Also, what may be the right path for some time, may not STAY the right path forever. Does he really want to force people to stay on a path that no longer suits them? or to stay with a teacher that no longer suits them? I guess so. I would hate to be one of his students who has a change of heart.

    Also, did you notice that DKR said that if he were enlightened, he would have the right to beat his students and be violent with them?!?!? He said that since he is ambitious and self centered, he would be too worried about making a good impression, so he wouldn’t do it. That’s small comfort, and frankly I don’t believe him. I think he would justify abuse under some circumstances, especially if he says he might abuse his students if he were a mahasiddha. He gives me the willies.

    Also, he didn’t even know what the word “cult” meant, so he had to look it up in a dictionary. Excuse me?!?!? How can a man who doesn’t know what a cult is, and who just looked up a brief description in a dictionary, possibly determine whether Vajrayana is a cult?!?!?

    • Solenodon

      Sorry, but samaya connections can not be broken.

      “Also, what may be the right path for some time, may not STAY the right path forever. Does he really want to force people to stay on a path that no longer suits them?”

      That’s why not only the student decides to choose a teacher, but the teacher also decides who he chooses as a student. The teacher should know better than to create samaya with a person who is not 100% certain, informed, prepared and committed.

      And there are vajrayana teachers who are very VERY picky as to whom they teach vajrayana. Have you heard about the Dzogchen master Chatral Rinpoche? Of folks like Tulku Pema Wangyal. I’m fairly certain he is qualified but I have never heard of him teaching vajrajana in any public setting. He teaches it to three year retreatants, that much I know, and those retreatants are hand picked.

      Because vajrayana relationships are basically forever. They survive death and rebirth. And you don’t want that unless you are absolutely sure.

      • Jan de Vries

        Where in the evolution started samaya to occur as a solid thing?
        Suddenlynther is something absolute? This samaya is created by men, perhaps with a purpose, why was it created and who did it?

        How did Naropa knew that his guru had taken the 14 vows mentioned by DKR?

        • Solenodon

          Samaya is the physics of vajrayana. It’s inbuilt and comes automatically with the special transmission method.
          It’s not a vow you take, like a celibacy vow. It’s not your decision in front of a preceptor that gives you samaya, but the vajrayana transmission itself comes automatically with a samaya bond with the teacher giving the transmission.

          Nobody invented samaya and it’s not in any way purpose created. It’s like when you burn something, you get the heat and light, but you also automatically get carbon dioxide as a product of the process. You can’t have one without the other because they are different aspects of the process.

  53. Catlover

    As for my own opinion, I don’t think Vajrayana is strictly a cult, since it isn’t organized under ONE leader, and it is very diverse. One can practice alone, so it doesn’t really fit the “cult” definition in of itself. BUT, I think it becomes a cult whenever you get a group of practitioners together who revolve around a lama.

    • Solenodon

      LOL. So vajrayana is okay as long as a teacher either only has one student or he has more than one students but these don’t meet or practice together?

      That’s a bit nonsensical.

      • Catlover

        @Solenodon,

        I didn’t say what you’re saying, but I did say that when there is a group of people around a guru, it often becomes like a cult, even if that guru would prefer that it doesn’t turn into a cult. Often people make it into a cult by their own attitudes about the guru. if that guru isn’t an outstanding individual, who has absolutely NO interest in power, money, or sex, it often deteriorates from there. it isn’t just in the Vajrayana that this happens. it can happen in any group where there is any kind of spiritual teacher. but in the Vajrayana, the “soil” for this sort of thing to happen is quite fertile. It happens quite easily.

        • Solenodon

          But making something into a cult can totally happen in the head of some person, has not necessarily something to do with other people.

          And “group dynamic” is an issue in all kinds of groups. For example the recent VW scandal as an example of companies and also political parties etc. This problem is not at all exclusive to religions.

          • Catlover

            @Solenodon,

            You are right that cult mentality can go on in ones head too. So, a solitary practitioner can still be “in a cult” in that sense. Also, I agree that cult dynamic can happen outside of religion too, especially in politics, as history has shown us, (all too sadly).

            But Vajrayana is fertile ground for cults because of the whole guru dynamic. Hinduism is similar in that way, or any religion that has “gurus” at the center. Whenever you have gurus at the center of any philosophy, the odds of it becoming a cult are definitely increased, imo.

            • Solenodon

              True. But people in the west converting to such spiritual scenarios often are actively seeking for a cult-experience, with an uber-father figure that they can admire and give up their responsibility to.

              And then there is a bunch of those and they make it a group experience.

              In psychological terminology that’s called regression, by the way. And the group of any lama who doesn’t actively engage to stop the worst excesses will be affected by it.

          • Adamo

            “But making something into a cult can totally happen in the head of some person, has not necessarily something to do with other people.

            And “group dynamic” is an issue in all kinds of groups. For example the recent VW scandal as an example of companies and also political parties etc. This problem is not at all exclusive to religions.”

            I observed, within tibetan buddhism, that even around a very good Lama followers can start make a cult out of it.

            One Rinpoche I know a little bit seems to me very humble,modest, engaged, well concerned, a good scholar and teacher, comes from the core of practice, I discovered that many of his followers developed cultlike practices, especially on the social level, and some of the pupils in the second and third hierarchic level played those stupid games as I saw them at Rigpa as well.

            So he doesnt want a cult around him.

            But why can it happen: he is a helicopter Lama, that means he arrives 1 or 2 x the year, with some retinue, is not very approachable, speaks not very good english, his close students build a cordon around him. He mixes maybe once per stay with the ordinary folks, shout around like: “are you happy ?”, and everybody shouts back: “Oh yes,Rinpoche”, and thats it.

            He has really no clue whats happen at his centre or happens not. He doesnt ever discuss anything with ordinary folks. He keeps distance.

            Its ok for me that way, I am not the type for hanging around a Lama, but its a matter of fact, he has no idea if people create a cultcenter or not.

            I think its pity he dont want to see more whats going on in his centres.

  54. Solenodon

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-jvPnVyCPE

    Here is another one of two, uploaded yesterday on DKR’s website

    At around 1.29 he goes into a question of lamas having sex with students, his reply, if it doesn’t help to further the pure perception of the student and/or harms “it ruins”.

    So there you have it, DKR making a clear statement about lamas harming students by having sex with them.

  55. irena

    Guys, Girls:
    Cat Lover& So Le no Don
    you both are in the Vajra hell, it appears 🙂
    We are all dead, Dharma goes on!
    Bye!

  56. [The Guru], “intended to sacrifice his reputation and for this public discussion to take place, perhaps so it could reveal the problems and bring positive change”. If that was/is the case, the guru is still subject to criminal proceedings which would undermine his efforts to spread the dharma.

    In Shambhala right now the same scenario is playing out: systemic covering up of criminal activity is coming to light and their response is to deliberate on crime internally with a smokescreen of transparency in their consulting with An Olive Branch. Essentially they are trying to use the same mechanisms to ‘treat’ the victims which enabled the cover ups of the perpetrators’ crimes. It will become a deafening feedback loop.

    https://shambhalacrime.wordpress.com/2018/03/23/on-the-kalapa-councils-march-19th-2018-letter/

  57. Peter Smith

    Usually DKR is very straightforward, clear and sharp to all the questions that he handles, including Vajrayana topics. However, on the topic of Sogyal Rinpoche, DKR seemed clumsy, hesitant, zigzag, going around, and passing time.

    DKR was tired, upset, remember, he was asking for chocolate while he was answering the questions. It is so obvious that Rinpoche was very uncomfortable.

    One very clear impression that came out of his talk at Rigpa was that DKR by all means did not want to bring any harm Sogyal Rinpoche. Rather he was attempting all he can to protect Sogyal Rinpoche without showing that he was doing that.

    It awoke me after the talk that DKR was not the teacher that I thought he was. I am grateful that through this talk, I at least learnt more about DKR.

    This is my observation and I don’t know why.

    • notsohopeful

      @ Peter, I agree, it changes my view of him too. I didn’t realize it but I must have had some idea that he was ‘special’ almost magical, which feeds into the whole sick cycle. He’s a human being, sometimes very wise, often times has a lot of good and helpful things to say, but also vulnerable to all human frailties.

      We must filter everything through our own rational minds and not assume everything a teacher says is true.

    • irena

      “DKR was tired, upset, remember, he was asking for chocolate ”
      DJK Rinpoche was asking for chocolate to smear it on the white cup he was drinking something from,
      so as to demonstrate the pure essence of the mind.
      Your observation is very suitable though. The mindfulness apps might work better.

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